NORTH ADAMS, Mass. - Junior forward Molly Phillips (Cranston, R.I.) scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Simmons College women's basketball team in a 54-50 loss to host Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts this evening at Amsler Campus Center in North Adams, Mass. The Sharks fall to 1-5 on the season, while the Trailblazers improve to 4-4.
Simmons forced the home team into committing 20 turnovers, but the Sharks shot just 27% (20-74) from the floor, while MCLA hit 42.2% (19-45) of its shots from the field and was 13-15 from the free throw line.
Phillips was 8-16 from the field, including 4-6 from three point range to lead Simmons and added five rebounds, two assists and a steal, while senior forward Presley Silva (Wilmington, Mass.) chipped in with 10 points, eight rebounds, four steals, an assist and a blocked shot.
Senior forward Emily Moulton (North Adams, Mass.) posted a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds to go with a game-high five blocks, two steals and an assist to lead the Trailblazers, while junior forward L'Rae Brundige (Valley Falls, N.Y.) contributed with 12 points on 4-7 from the floor in addition to grabbing two rebounds, handing out a pair of assists and coming up with a steal.
Phillips converted a layup with 1:51 left in the game to give the Sharks a 47-46 lead. Junior guard Karina Mattera (Johnston, R.I.) and Moulton each countered with a pair of free throws to give MCLA a 50-47 lead with 41 seconds left on the fourth quarter clock. Phillips drove the lane and put up a layup that got the roll and went through the hoop, while getting fouled in the process. She knocked down the free throw to complete the three-point play and tie the contest at 50-all with just 11 ticks left on the clock. The Trailblazers called a timeout and junior guard Courtney Pingelski (Mechanicville, N.Y.) took the inbounds pass and immediately drove to the baseline, where she converted a short jumper to give the home team a 52-50 lead with eight seconds left. Simmons called a timeout of its own, but turned the ball over on its possession, before Pingelski hit a pair of free throws to seal the victory for MCLA.
The teams played within three points of each other through the first period of play with the Sharks holding a 12-11 edge after one quarter of play. Phillips netted eight points in the quarter for the visitors to lead all scorers. Brundige hit the final basket of the quarter to pull the Trailblazers to within one at the period's close. MCLA continued its momentum with the first seven points of the second quarter, including a three-pointer from Brudige, to give the home team an 18-12 lead with 8:04 showing in the period. Simmons scored the next five points, including a trifecta from Phillips, to cut the deficit to 18-17 with 5:15 to go in the quarter, before the Trailblazers took a 22-19 lead into the intermission.
Silva scored the first four points of the second half to give the Sharks a 23-22 edge with 8:41 remaining in the third quarter, but MCLA ripped off six straight points, capped by a three-pointer from junior guard Mckenzie Robinson (Adams, Mass.) to give the Trailblazers a 28-23 margin with 7:03 to play in the period. MCLA later maintained a 30-25 lead with 6:17 showing on the third quarter clock, but Simmons chipped away and took a 35-34 lead when first year guard Jalissa Rodriguez (Waterbury, Conn.) stuck a three-pointer at 2:25 to cap a 10-4 run. Phillips followed with another trey at 1:20 of the quarter before the Sharks headed into the final period of play with a 38-34 lead.
First year forward Julia LaMontagne (Amesbury, Mass.) nailed a jumper just 19 seconds into the quarter to give Simmons its largest lead of the night at 40-34. The Trailblazers came back with six unanswered points, including four from Moulton, to knot the contest at 40-40 with at the 7:54 mark. Phillips later knocked down two free throws to increase the Sharks cushion to 45-42 with 4:14 left to play, before MCLA scored the next four points to take a 46-45 edge with 2:11 to go.
Simmons returns to the court when it finally plays its first home game of the campaign on Saturday, December 9 in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference tilt against cross-street rival Emmanuel College at 1:00 p.m. at Moore Gymnasium, while the Trailblazers head to Springfield, Mass. to take on Springfield College on December 30 at 1:00 p.m.