Fifth-seeded Simmons College fell to top seed Emmanuel College, 80-50, in one of two semifinal games of the Great Northeast Athletic Tournament. The two Colleges of the Fenway schools squared off in the Jean Yawkey Center on Thursday night for a trip to the GNAC Championship game. With the tough loss, Simmons Basketball concludes its post-season run after posting a 16-8 regular season record. The Saints will now host second-seeded Norwich University on Saturday as they attempt a fourth-straight GNAC title.
The Saints opened the night with a 9-0 lead, prompting a Simmons time-out with 17:16 on the clock. Out of the time-out, Jessica Thomas (East Sandwich, Mass.) drained a three to put Simmons on the board, 11-3. The Sharks scored their second field goal at the 14-minute mark, when Emily Thomas (Cheshire, Conn.) hit a runner in the lane.
Senior forward Stephanie Fox (West Springfield, Mass.) brought the Sharks into double-digits with a trey from the top of the key. Julianna Eagles (Quincy, Mass.) then drained one from long-range and Simmons trailed 35-13 with 3 minutes left in the half.
A pair of free throws and a lay-up by Emily Thomas brought Simmons to 38-17, before Breanna Ockimey and Fox exchanged triples on opposite ends to bring the spread to 41-20 with under a minute to play. Jessica Thomas hit a trey, which was matched by one from LeBel, to boost the score to 46-23. Fox sunk two freebies to close out the half with a 46-25 score at the break.
Emmanuel went on an 11-4 run to start the second half and the Saints led 57-29 with 14:42 left to play. Fox hit 1 of 2 from the line for Simmons at the 10-minute mark to bring the score to 63-36. Emmanuel held on to the double-figure lead for the remainder of the contest and the Saints came away with a 80-50 win.
LeBel finished with a game-high 20 points to lead the Saints. She hit 7 of 11 from the floor and 2 of 4 from behind the arc. Both Brenkach and Shaw posted double-doubles, combining for 20 points and 24 rebounds.
Fox played a solid 39-minute game with 15 points, 15 boards, 5 rebounds and 2 steals for Simmons. Emily Thomas added 9 points and Alex Acloque (Canton, Mass.) chipped in with 8 points and 5 rebounds in the effort.
In the Thursday night's other semifinal game, the second-seeded Cadets of Norwich University topped the third-seeded Falcons of Albertus Magnus College, 80-57, in Northfield, Vermont. The Cadets will travel to Boston to take on the Saints this Saturday, February 27, for the GNAC Championship. The winner of the GNAC Tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which begins on March 5, 2010.