BOSTON, Mass. – Gracie Rolfe (Newton, Mass.) led the team in scoring and Nicole Alberghini (Northborough, Mass.) topped the squad in rebounds in the final game of their respective careers for Simmons College in a 69-35 loss to visiting Johnson & Wales University this afternoon in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference game at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks end their season with a 7-18 overall record, including 1-10 in league play.
The Wildcats, who are ranked seventh in the most recent NCAA regional poll, win their eighth straight game to finish the regular season at 23-2 for the best record in school history, including 10-1 in league play. They also earn the number two seed in the GNAC Championship Tournament and will host seventh-seeded Lasell College in Newton, Mass. a 5:30 p.m. in the first round of tournament on February 23.
Johnson & Wales held Simmons to just 26.1% (12-46) from the floor and forced 26 turnovers to translate into a 26-14 advantage in points off turnovers. The Wildcats also dominated the glass by a count of 48-27.
Rolfe scored seven points on Senior Day for the Sharks and added a pair of rebounds, while Alberghini pulled down a team-high five rebounds in her final career contest, while scoring six points and coming up with a steal. Rolfe finishes her career with 339 points, while Alberghini closes out her tenure with 318 points and 372 rebounds. Junior guard Jamie Zoldy (Watertown, Conn.) contributed with seven points, two assists and a rebound.
Kresge was 6-11 from the field in her final career regular-season game and added a pair of steals in 17 minutes off the bench for the Wildcats. Sophomore center Ashley Thompson (Bellingham, Mass.) finished a rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine boards to go with an assist and two blocks, while sophomore point guard Raquel Pederzani (Coventry, R.I.) chipped in with eight points, four steals, two blocks, five assists and five rebounds as one of 10 players to crack the scoring column for JWU.
Johnson & Wales jumped out to a 14-2 lead with 5:16 to play in the opening quarter. Thompson paced the visitors with six points during the run. Simmons closed out the quarter on a 6-3 burst to cut the deficit to 17-8 at the end of the first period.
The Wildcats scored eight unanswered points to open the second quarter as part of a 13-2 stretch to increase their cushion to 30-10 with 2:16 showing in the period. Johnson & Wales took a 34-16 lead into the intermission.
Sophomore forward Presley Silva (Wilmington, Mass.) canned a pair of free throws to pull the Sharks to within 37-18 with 5:45 to play in the third quarter, before the Wildcats went on a 12-2 run, fueled by eight points from Kresge to give them a 49-20 lead with 67 seconds remaining in the quarter. Simmons scored the final five points of the period and Alberghini converted a lay-up for the first points of the fourth quarter to bring the Sharks to within 49-27 at the 9:11 mark of the fourth quarter. Johnson & Wales responded with a 14-2 burst, including six points from sophomore guard Kristen Habbel (Phoenixville, Pa.), to take its largest lead of the day at 63-29 with 5:07 left in the game. The Wildcats maintained their lead for the remainder of the contest.