STANDISH, Maine - The Simmons College women's basketball team was unable to recover from a big second quarter from its opponent in an 80-48 defeat to host Saint Joseph's College (Maine) this afternoon in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference contest in Standish, Maine. The Sharks finish the regular season with an 8-15 overall record, including 6-10 in league play, while the Monks have won six of their last seven to finish the regular slate at 21-4 and 15-1 in GNAC action.
Simmons finishes the season as the number four seed in the GNAC North Division and will take on South Division top seed, Emmanuel College at the Yawkey Center in Boston, Mass. in the opening round of the GNAC Championship Tournament on Tuesday, February 21 at 7:00 p.m., while Saint Joseph's earns the number one seed in the North Division and will host the South's number four seed, Albertus Magnus College, at 6:00 p.m. on February 21 in Standish, Maine.
Monks' defense held the visitors to just 31.6% (18-57) shooting, while the offense knocked down 10 three-pointers for the game at a 40% clip and outscored the Sharks, 29-13, in the second quarter.
Senior guard Jamie Zoldy (Watertown, Conn.) led Simmons with 14 points, including 4-5 from three-point range, to go with two rebounds and a pair of steals, while sophomore guard Francesca Corsinetti (Johnston, R.I.) chipped in with 12 points off the bench and added five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Senior forwards Ashley McAdams (Freeport, N.Y.) and Liz Brasa (East Hartford, Conn.) each contributed with eight points apiece.
Sophomore guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) was one of four SJC players to net double-digits, leading all scorers with 15 points for Saint Joseph's in addition to four rebounds, five assists and two steals. Sophomore guard Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) netted 14 points, grabbed six boards, handed out two assists and came up with a steal, while sophomore forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) contributed with 13 points, four rebounds and a steal. Senior guard Abbie Eastman (Norway, Maine) scored 10 points, dished for three assists, came down with a rebound and made a steal.
The Sharks scored the first five points of the game with sophomore forward Lauren Brandau (Madison, Conn.) hitting a lay-up and Zoldy draining a three-pointer with 7:10 to play in the opening quarter. McNamara and Champagne each scored four points to fuel a 10-0 run to give the Monks a 10-5 lead with 2:19 showing in the period. Benway later made a lay-up to increase the home team's lead to 14-7, but Corsinetti buried a three-pointer with 34 seconds left in the quarter to cut the deficit to 14-10 for Simmons heading into the second period.
McAdams converted a lay-up early in the second quarter to pull the Sharks to within 16-14 with 8:39 left in the first half. It would be as close as Simmons would get as Saint Joseph's put together a 24-4 outburst that the Sharks could not recover from. The game-changing run was fueled by six three-pointers, including three from McNamara to give the Monks a 40-18 cushion with 2:21 remaining in the quarter. The Sharks scored the next five points, including a trey from Zoldy, to cut the margin to 40-23, but Saint Joseph's took a 43-23 lead into the intermission.
The Monks later maintained a 47-25 advantage at the 7:29 mark of the third period, before Simmons scored six unanswered points, including four free throws from Brasa to trim the deficit to 47-31 with 3:26 to go in the third quarter. Saint Joseph's countered with seven straight points to increase its lead to 54-31 with 64 seconds left in the period and took a 56-35 lead into the final period of play.
The Monks didn't let up to start the fourth quarter, putting together a 20-5 stretch, paced by seven points from Champagne, to take their largest lead of the day at 76-40 with 3:54 to play in the contest. Corsinetti scored the final four points of the game for the Sharks to set the final at 80-48.