The Sharks defeated Fenway neighbor Wheelock College, 67-41, on Monday night at the Holmes Sports Center. Simmons moves to 4-0 on the season with the win, while the Wildcats remained winless through three games.
Simmons sophomore Emily Thomas (Cheshire, Conn.) led all scorers with 15 points in addition to snaring seven rebounds, while classmate Liz O'Connor (Milton, Mass.) notched 14 points and three blocks. Junior Jessica Thomas (East Sandwich, Mass.) had 12 points, and classmate Alex Acloque (Canton, Mass.) finished with eight points, 13 boards and five steals.
The Sharks scored the first 12 points by the 15:43 mark of the opening half, as four different players scored in the run, but stingy defense and a handful of scorers allowed Wheelock to slowly chip away at its deficit. Kailah Simon hit a jumper at 12:14 to get the hosts on the board, and a Kayla Drescher lay-up 30 seconds later was followed by a hoop from sophomore Sarah McCaffrey at 10:35 that made it 12-6.
Three straight Simmons free throws were met by another Wheelock jumper that kept the Wildcats within 15-8 with 8:45 remaining. Thomas knocked down a three at 8:25, ending a 7:37 stretch during which Wheelock went on an 8-4 run, forced seven turnovers and held the Sharks to only four free throws and 0-for-10 shooting from the field.
After Simmons went back up by 12, a 7-0 stretch during 1:34 brought the hosts within 20-15, as Caitlin Kerr capped the run with a three-pointer at 6:06. A Maya Spratling hoop at 1:42 and a Randi Davis long-range shot with 41 ticks left made it 30-25 at the half.
The Sharks netted the first nine points of the second stanza, grabbing a 39-25 advantage on an Acloque lay-in at 18:15, and never again led by fewer than a dozen points. Simmons shot 46.2 percent during the period, overcoming a 23-21 Wheelock advantage on the boards.
Davis posted season highs of 11 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench for Wheelock, which shot 39.3 percent in the opening half to the Sharks' 22.5-percent showing. Spratling added six points, seven boards and three steals, Simon notched six points, and classmate Keneisha Milton had eight caroms, including six offensive, and four takeaways.
Drescher chipped in with six rebounds for Wheelock, which cut its margin of defeat nearly in half from last year's meeting and played without senior Joy Holliday, the squad's leading scorer at 11.0 points per game.
Simmons will play next at Wentworth Institute of Technology on Monday, November 29 at 6:00pm. The Wildcats break until Thursday, December 2, when they travel to the UMass Boston for a 5:30pm contest.