BOSTON, Mass. – Junior forward Presley Silva (Wilmington, Mass.) led all scorers with 19 points, matching a career-high, to propel the Simmons College women's basketball team past Mount Ida College, 78-44, on a snowy afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference play at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks improve to 3-5 overall and a perfect 3-0 in league play, while the Mustangs drop to 3-7 and 0-2 in conference action.
The victory margin was the most for Simmons since an 80-44 win over Fisher College on January 7, 2013 and the biggest win in a conference contest since beating Pine Manor College, 87-46, on January 18, 2010. The conference win total is the most for the Fenway school since the 2010-11 campaign.
The Sharks took advantage of 32 turnovers, outscoring the visitors, 37-7 in points off turnovers, including 23-3 in the first half. Simmons dominated the boards, owning a 55-44 rebounding advantage and held a 22-6 scoring margin in second chance points. The home team registered season highs in points (78), rebounds (55), assists (19), steals (20), blocks (9) and field goal percentage (39.5%/32-81) for the game.
Silva was 7-12 from the floor and notched a double-double with a career-high 13 rebounds and equaled her lifetime best with five blocks in addition to a pair of steals and an assist for the Sharks. Senior guard Jamie Zoldy (Watertown, Conn.) netted 13 points and dished out five assists to go with four rebounds and a steal and first year forward Kirra Courchesne (Wilmington, Vt.) broke out with a career-high 13 points and added five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot in 18 minutes off the bench. Sophomore guard Rebekah Carroll (Londonderry, N.H.) contributed with a career-high matching seven assists and also scored three points, grabbed three rebounds and made three steals.
The Mustangs received 14 points and five boards from junior forward Imani Bumpus (West Hartford, Conn.) in only 19 minutes of action, while senior forward Brittany Crosby (Riverside, R.I.) pitched in with eight points, three rebounds and a pair of steals.
Mount Ida held a 4-2 lead at the 7:46 mark of the first quarter, but Simmons responded with an 8-0 run sparked by four points from junior forward Liz Brasa (East Hartford, Conn.) to take a 10-4 cushion midway through the period. The Sharks scored 12 points off turnovers in the opening quarter and finished the period with an 18-9 lead.
The Mustangs opened the second quarter with five straight points after an early Simmons bucket to cut the deficit to 20-14 after a layup and a free throw from first year guard Alisa Benson (Middletown, RI.). The teams traded baskets before Mount Ida's Crosby netted a basket to reduce the Sharks' lead to four (22-18) at the 6:04 mark. That's as close as it would get as Simmons would close the half on a 15-5 run to make it 38-23 at the intermission. Zoldy and Silva had five and four points, respectively, during the stretch.
Silva scored five of her 13 third quarter points to open the period and give the Sharks a 43-25 lead, but five straight points from Bumpus cut the gap to 43-30 for the Mustangs with 7:27 showing in the period. They stayed within 49-36 at the 5:03 mark, but eight unanswered points, capped by a pair of free throws from junior guard Celina Jones (Milford, Mass.) gave the home team a 57-36 lead heading into the final period of play.
Mount Ida opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with a quick basket by Crosby but was held scoreless for the next four minutes as the Sharks increased the lead to 73-38 with 4:25 remaining. Simmons scored 16 straight points during the visitors' scoring drought with scoring contributions from seven different players. Courchesne later gave Simmons its largest lead of the game on a three-point play, including a free throw to make it 76-39 with 3:29 to play in the game. Neither team scored in the final 2:48 of play as the Sharks cruised to the victory.
Simmons is back in action on Tuesday, January 10 when it travels to West Haven, Conn. to take on conference foe University of Saint Joseph at 7:00 p.m., while the Mustangs play host to GNAC opponent Emmanuel College for a 6:00 p.m. tipoff on the same date.