NORTHFIELD, Vt. - The Simmons College women's basketball team outscored host Norwich University in three quarters, but was unable to overcome a 14-point deficit following the first period in a 60-53 loss in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference contest this evening at Andrews Hall in Northfield, Vt. The Sharks fall to 5-9 overall and 5-4 in league play, while the Cadets improve to 11-7 and 6-4.
Norwich took advantage of a formidable inside presence, outrebounding Simmons, 40-31, and doubling up its guests, 32-16, in points in the paint.
Nine different players scored for the Sharks, led by a team-high 11 points from senior guard Jamie Zoldy (Watertown, Conn.) to go with four rebounds and three assists. Senior forward Ashley McAdams (Freeport, N.Y.) contributed with 10 points, six boards, three steals and three assists, while classmate Liz Brasa (East Hartford, Conn.) netted eight points, grabbed six rebounds, handed out an assist and came up with a steal.
Senior forward Heather LeBlanc (Sanford, Maine) posted a double-double with 16 points and a career-high matching 18 rebounds in addition to five assists and a block to lead the Cadets. Senior guard Kayla Mercer (New Britain, Conn.) dropped in 13 points, dished out two assists and picked up a pair of steals, while junior guard Shyann Josler (Thetford Center, Vt.) chipped in with 11 points, five assists, three steals and a pair of rebounds.
Norwich scored the first nine points of the game as part of a 15-1 run over the first six and a half minutes of the opening quarter. LeBlanc and Mercer each netted five points during the opening burst. Sophomore guard Francesca Corsinetti (Johnston, R.I.) knocked down a three to end the visitors' scoring woes and make it 15-4 with 3:08 showing on the first quarter clock. The Cadets converted the next two field goals to take a 19-4 lead into the second quarter.
Simmons chipped away at the deficit, scoring more points than Norwich in each of the next three quarters and pulled to within two points late in the fourth period, but could not overcome its first quarter difference.
The Sharks scored eight unanswered points to open the second stanza and pull to within 19-12 with 7:21 showing in the second quarter. The Cadets later pushed their margin to 25-14, following a LeBlanc layup at the 4:37 mark of the period. Norwich maintained its double-digit advantage right up until halftime, taking a 29-19 lead into the intermission.
The Cadets built their largest lead of the game at 42-25 with 3:55 left in the third quarter. Simmons showed some fight, responding with a 10-2 run, behind a well-balanced attack, including a three-pointer from Zoldy, and cut the margin to 44-35 with 1:24 to go in the fourth period. The Sharks kept the margin under 10 as McAdams sank a pair of freethrows to make it 46-37 prior to the fourth quarter.
McAdams later knocked down a jumper for Simmons at the seven-minute mark to make it 48-43, but Norwich put together a 5-2 burst to claim a 53-45 cushion with two minutes left in the game. The teams traded field goals as the Cadets maintained a 55-47 lead with 97 seconds left on the clock. The Sharks closed to within 55-53, getting three points each from Brasa and senior Kimberlee Hixon (Taunton, Mass.), but that would be as close as they would get as the Cadets netted the final five points of the game.
Simmons returns to action on Saturday, January 28 when it hosts cross-street and GNAC College rival Emmanuel College for a 3:00 p.m. game at Moore Gymnasium on the campus of Simmons in Boston, Mass. Norwich will host Lasell College on January 29 at 1:00 p.m. in Northfield, Vt.