BOSTON, Mass. - Sophomore Liz Brasa (East Hartford, Conn.) scored a game-high 19 points and junior forward Gracie Rolfe (Newton, Mass.) netted a season-high 13 points to lead the Simmons College women's basketball team to a 56-39 victory over host Wheelock College this afternoon. The game was a home game for Wheelock, but was played at Moore Gymnasium on the campus of Simmons. The Sharks improve to 2-7 on the season, while the Wildcats fall to 4-5.
The Simmons' defense held Wheelock to just 16.5% (13-79) shooting from the floor, including 3-26 (11.5%) from three-point range. The Wildcats also struggled at the free throw line, converting just 10 of 24 tries from the charity stripe.
First year forward Gabrielle Haywood (East Longmeadow, Mass.) hit a jump shot with 16:48 to play in the second half to pull Wheelock to within 30-28, but the Sharks reeled off 10 unanswered points over the next six minutes of action to take a 40-28 lead and never looked back. Simmons later maintained a 46-36 cushion with 6:22 remaining in the game, before scoring seven straight points, capped by a Brasa jumper to give the Sharks their largest lead of the day at 53-36 with 3:44 showing in the second half. Both teams scored just three points each in the remaining minutes of action as Simmons came away with the win.
The Sharks opened the first half with a 13-6 lead, following consecutive three-pointers from junior guard Jennifer Janiak (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Rolfe and never trailed in the game. The Wildcats closed to within 13-10 with 9:44 to play in the first half, but Simmons put together a 7-2 burst to increase its margin to 20-12 at the 6:55 mark of the first period. Wheelock refused to quit, going on a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to 22-20 with 67 ticks left on the first half clock. Two points remained the difference as the Sharks took a 24-22 lead into the intermission.
Brasa pulled down six rebounds to go with a steal and a blocked shot as one of Simmons' season-high nine blocks on the afternoon. Rolfe was a perfect 6-6 from the line and added five boards, three assists and a steal in just 22 minutes of action, while first year forward Presley Silva (Wilmington, Mass.) chipped in with eight points, four rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot. First year forward Celina Jones (Milford, Mass.) and sophomore forward Katherine Kroeger (Hollis, N.H.) both established career game-highs with four and three blocks, respectively. Jones also dropped in five points to go with three rebounds, while Kroeger ripped down four rebounds.
Sophomore forward Katie Alsip (Quincy, Mass.) posted her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Wildcats, while classmate Michelle Woods (Wilmington, Mass.) scored nine points and added nine boards.
The Sharks waste no time getting back to the floor, heading to Fisher College in Boston for a 5:00 p.m. tip-off tomorrow night, while Wheelock travels to Newton, Mass. to play Mount Ida College on January 7 at 6:00 p.m.