Basketball Comes up Short vs. Albertus Magnus, 59-56

Basketball Comes up Short vs. Albertus Magnus, 59-56

BOSTON, Mass. -- The Simmons College women's basketball team's late push wasn't enough as visiting Albertus Magnus College held on for a 59-56 win in Great Northeast Athletic Conference action this evening at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks fall to 2-15 overall and 2-10 in league play, while the Falcons improve to 13-6 and 7-4.

Simmons owned a 53-39 rebound advantage, but turned the ball over 25 times, resulting in a 21-11 points off turnovers advantage for Albertus Magnus to give it the deciding points. 

Senior forward Presley Silva (Wilmington, Mass.) registered her fourth straight double-double and ninth on the season with 14 points and 11 boards in addition to four steals, two assists and a blocked shot to lead the Sharks. Junior forward Lauren Brandau (Madison, Conn.) scored a career-best 10 points and added 11 rebounds for her first career double-double and added six steals and three assists, while first year guard Carli Koffinke (Franklin, Mass.) dropped in a personal-best 11 points and added an assist in 15 minutes off the bench.

Senior forward Olivia Bolden (South Windsor, Conn.) posted her 17th double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead AMC. She was 8-8 from the free throw line and knocked down her only three-point field goal attempt and added a steal for the Falcons, while junior guard Kiki Epps (Norwalk, Conn.) netted 16 points on 7-13 from the field and finished a board shy of a double-double with nine to go with two assists and a steal. Junior guard Jill Johnson (North Haven, Conn.) netted 14 points, grabbed two rebounds, handed out an assist and came up with a career-high seven steals.

 Junior forward Molly Phillips (Cranston, R.I.) converted a lay-up to begin the fourth quarter and pull Simmons to within 45-43, but Albertus Magnus reeled off eight straight points, including four from Johnson, to take their largest lead of the game at 53-43 with 7:00 to play in the game. The Falcons later maintained a 57-49 margin with 2:16 showing in the fourth period, before the Sharks made a late push by scoring seven of the next eight points, including a put-back by Brandau to pull the home team to within 58-56 with four seconds to go in the contest. Johnson was fouled on the ensuing possession for Albertus Magnus with 2.8 seconds and made the front end of two free throws, but the miss on the second attempt didn't leave enough time for Silva to get off a shot for the home team and the Falcons came away with the win. 

Albertus Magnus jumped out to a 15-6 lead with 3:43 left in the opening quarter. Epps paced the opening run with six points and Bolden chipped in with five. Simmons closed the quarter with a 7-2 burst, including a three-pointer from Phillips to cut the deficit to 17-13 at the end of the period. Koffinke drained a trifecta to begin the second period and make it a one-point game, but the Falcons scored the next five points, capped by a three-pointer from first year guard Raegon Shirling-Davis (Waterbury, Conn.) to give the visitors a 22-16 margin at 7:28 of the period. The Sharks put together a 9-2 string, including a lay-up from Koffinke to give them their only lead of the night at 25-24 with 3:01 remaining in the first half. Albertus Magnus scored the final four points of the quarter to take a 28-25 lead into the intermission. 

Simmons stayed close  in the third quarter, pulling to within 33-32 following a Silva lay-up at the 7:32 mark, before the Falcons scored the next five points, including a three-point play from Johnson to give them a 38-34 lead with 5:09 to go in the period. Senior guard Angela Piccirillo (Naugatuck, Conn.) later canned a three-pointer to give Albertus Magnus a 45-38, before taking a 45-41 advantage into the final quarter of play. 

The Sharks will be in action again on Saturday, February 3 when they cross the street to take on GNAC rival Emmanuel College (Mass.) at 1:00 p.m. at the Yawkey Center, while the Falcons head to Newton, Mass. to play Lasell College on the same day at 1:00 p.m.