Simmons Basketball was defeated by visiting Great Northeast Athletic Conference rival Norwich University, 68-64, on Saturday afternoon at the Holmes Sports Center. The hotly contested game saw double-doubles from two players on each team, with a fast pace and aggressive defense on both sides. With the loss, Simmons drops to 6-8 overall (1-2 GNAC) on the season, while Norwich moves to 10-4 overall (3-0 GNAC).
Simmons was led by sophomore Liz O'Connor (Milton, Mass.) with a game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore Emily Thomas (Cheshire, Conn.) posted 23 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. The Sharks also saw action from junior Brittany Dolloff (Hollis, N.H.) who had 8 points and 8 rebounds, and junior Alex Acloque (Randolph, Mass.) with a strong defensive effort of 12 rebounds and four blocks on the day.
The first half began with even scoring of 9-9 at 16:06 to go. The Sharks and Cadets continued to battle, Norwich retaining the lead, but Simmons creeping closer.
At 4:58 to go, the Cadets were up 30-24, when a jumper from O'Connor and two successful free throws from Thomas brought the score to 28-30. A foul from Norwich drew another good free throw from O'Connor at 2:59 remaining, bringing the score to 30-29. Norwich answered back with two points from a Megan Gingras layup, 32-29.
Freshman Hannah May (Hamden, Conn.) brought the Sharks within one point with a timely jumper, 32-31. The Sharks would finally draw ahead after two more O'Connor free throws, bringing the score to 33-32, Sharks' advantage.
Both teams returned focused after halftime, with Norwich drawing ahead slightly through the first four minutes of the second half. At 15:54 to go and the score 44-41, a layup from Thomas and a clean three-pointer from Dolloff, Simmons drew ahead again, 46-44.
A free throw from Laurel McWilliams and another from Hannah Bushey tied the score at 46-46. Norwich drew ahead once more, beginning a 7-point run at 10:46 with a free throw from Andrea Vogt, a jumper from Bushey, two points from Christine Daniels and another two from Bushey, bringing the score to 53-46 at 7:29 to go.
Simmons battled back, chipping away at the Cadets' lead until they were within three points at 1:52 to go, 63-60. Two successful free throws from O'Connor brought the Sharks one point away to 63-62. McWilliams answered back with a long three pointer to move ahead 65-62. O'Connor sank another one for two points, followed by two free throws from Karissa Doyon, 67-64 with 23 seconds remaining.
Following a foul from Thomas, the Cadets sealed the win with one more free throw from McWilliams, bringing the final score to 68-64.
Norwich was led by McWilliams with 24 points and 18 rebounds, and Daniels with 12 points, 14 boards and two blocks. Doyon also contributed 12 points for the Cadets.
Simmons will next face off against Pine Manor on Monday, January 17 at 5:30pm in another GNAC matchup. Norwich will travel to Mount Ida on Jan. 19 for a 5:00pm GNAC game.