Sharks Fall to Saints in Colleges of the Fenway Battle

Sharks Fall to Saints in Colleges of the Fenway Battle

BOSTON, Mass. – Simmons Basketball fell to the Emmanuel College Saints 72-59 in a Colleges of the Fenway (COF) rivalry played in the Jean Yawkey Center on Tuesday night.  The win boosts the Saints to 13-6 on the season and Emmanuel remains undefeated in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play at 5-0.  With the loss, the Sharks stretch their slide to six games and fall to 2-14 on the season and 0-5 in the conference. 

EC opened with a bucket in the post by Lena Negri and a baseline three by Liz Daley to quickly pull out in front.  Simmons challenged with a backboard trifecta from Leah Davis (Cranston, R.I.) and a lay-up off a backdoor cut from Jen Janiak (Chelmsford, Mass.) to tie the game up at 8-all.  Following a timeout by the hosts, Janiak buried a trey from the top of the key, giving the Sharks an early 11-8 edge.

Sophomore guards Shaniya Rentie and Sarah Higgins dialed in from downtown to put the Saints back on top by one, 16-15, at the twelve-minute mark.  The Sharks pulled back out in front, taking advantage of their 69.2% field goal shooting, and would hold the lead over the next three minutes.

A jumper and a pair of free throws by Rentie, followed by a hoop on the break by Vanessa Bramante gave Emmanuel the lead at 26-23 with eight minutes to go in the half.  Following a hoop in the paint by Negri, Davis drained another one from behind the arc and the Sharks took a 29-28 lead.

Hoops by Rentie and Jennifer Bujnowski sparked a 7-1 run by the Saints, who pulled out in front, 36-30, with3:28 left in the half.  The lead would change six times in the first frame, before the Saints entered the locker room holding an eight-point edge (42-34) at the break.

Davis led all scorers at halftime with twelve points, going 4-5 from three-point range. Rentie's 9 paced led the Saints, while Negri and Bujnowski each contributed 8 points in the half.  EC forced 20 turnovers by the Sharks in the first half. Both teams shot 50% from the floor in the opening period.

The Saints took advantage of a 9-5 run over the first four minutes of the second stanza, pulling out to a double-figure lead and forcing a Simmons' timeout with the Sharks trailing 51-39.  Simmons' defense held Emmanuel scoreless over the next two minutes and the Sharks took advantage of early foul trouble by the hosts, as EC picked up its ninth team foul with13:24 showing on the clock.  Sharks senior guard Desh Perera (Reading, Mass.) buried a jumper from the right wing and cut the Simmons deficit to six, trailing 51-45.

An and-one by Negri pushed the spread back into double figures and the hosts held onto their ten-point lead through the ten-minute mark.  The Sharks cut the Saints' lead to nine after a long three-ball from Hannah May (Hamden, Conn.) with six and a half minutes remaining.

Rentie hit again from long range and Negri stole and inbounds pass and layed it in to push Emmanuel out to a 68-51 lead with 4:50 to go.  The late surge proved to be too much for the Sharks to overcome down the stretch and the Saints pulled away with the 72-59 win.

Negri finished with 19 points, off of 8-12 shooting from the floor, to lead the Saints.  Bujnowski hit for 14 points and grabbed a team-high 7 boards, while Rentie chipped in with 13 points in the win.

Davis netted a game-high 20 points for the Sharks.  May and Janiak added 8 apiece, while Ashley McAdams (Freeport, N.Y.) led the visitors on the glass with her game-high 10 rebounds.  Forty-three turnovers plagued the Sharks' offense, but they led the hosts on the boards, 43-36.

Simmons will host Albertus Magnus College on Thursday night in a 7:00 PM start in the Holmes Center.  Emmanuel also returns to action on Thursday night, when the Saints host the Monks of Saint Joseph's College. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 PM in the Jean Yawkey Center.