Simmons Basketball secured their 2010 Great Northeast Athletic Conference opener over Suffolk University on Saturday, 60-56, in a thrilling finish that came down to the last three minutes of the game. With the win, Simmons advances to 8-4 (1-0 GNAC) while Suffolk falls to 4-6 (0-1 GNAC).
With the score at 58-53 in Simmons' favor with four minutes remaining in the second half, Suffolk sophomore forward Julianne Conrad hit a three-pointer to bring the Rams into striking distance, 58-56. With Suffolk as close at two points shy of a tie, several untimely Rams fouls let the Sharks pull away with sharp free throw shots from freshman guard Liz O'Connor (Milton, Mass.) and senior forward Stephanie Fox (West Springfield, Mass.) to bring the final score to 60-56.
Fox led all scoring on the day with a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds, also collecting six blocks and three steals. Sophomore guard Jessica Thomas (East Sandwich, Mass.) racked up 15 points, three board and three rebounds, while senior guard Julianna Eagles (Quincy, Mass.) chipped in nine points for the Sharks. O'Connor had a solid defensive presence throughout the game, earning five points, six boards and three steals.
The Rams' Meghan Black turned in a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds; not far behind her was teammate Jaqueline Vienneau with 11 points of her own, as well as five assists and three steals. Kristina Hayner chipped in nine points and five rebounds. Suffolk never let Simmons get too far away, trailing by just four points at halftime, and again by four at the final buzzer.
Simmons will next face GNAC foe Johnson & Wales on Tuesday, January 12 at 7:00pm at home. Suffolk will travel to Pine Manor on the same day.