BOSTON, Mass. -- Sophomore guard Cassandra Stapelfeld (Brookline, N.H.) scored 18 points to lead the Simmons University women's basketball team in a 78-46 loss to visiting Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the season opener for both teams this evening at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks fall to 0-1 on the season, while the Engineers improve to 1-0.
MIT shot 54.5% (30-55) from the floor, including a 30-point third quarter that saw the visitors go 12-17 from the field. The Engineers held Simmons to just 27.4% (17-62) shooting, including 2-13 from three-point range for a 15.4% clip for the game. The MIT defense was opportunistic as well, turning 15 turnovers into 21 points in contrast to the Sharks 11 points off miscues.
Stapelfeld's scoring output marks the most points by a player in her Simmons debut in known school history and added five rebounds and two steals. Junior forward Kirra Courchesne (Wilmington, Vt.) came off the bench to chip in with eight points, five rebounds, a steal and a block, while senior forward Molly Phillips (Cranston, R.I.) scored seven points, snared seven rebounds and came up with a steal.
Senior forward Sophie Gershon (New York, N.Y.) scored 17 points on 7-10 from the floor and pulled down five rebounds in addition to a pair of blocks and two steals to lead the Engineers. Senior point guard Dolly Yuan (San Jose, Calif.) contributed with 16 points on 5-7 from the field to go with five assists, five boards and three steals, while senior guard Kara Holinski (Livonia, Mich.) dropped in 13 points, handed out five helpers, grabbed two rebounds, blocked a shot and came up with two steals.
MIT owned a 24-19 lead with 2:22 left in the second quarter, before closing out the period with nine unanswered points, capped by a three-pointer from Yuan, to take a 33-19 halftime cushion.
The Engineers put the game away in the third quarter, outscoring the Sharks, 30-13, led by 10 points from Gershon. MIT took its largest lead of the night when Gershon completed a three-point play with a free throw to give it a 76-38 advantage with 2:37 showing on the fourth quarter clock. Simmons scored eight of the final 10 points to close to within 78-46 before the fourth quarter buzzer sounded.
The Sharks scored the first five points of the game, including a three-pointer from Stapelfeld, before Holinski put the Engineers on the board with their first basket coming at 6:47 of the opening quarter. The triple sparked a 13-0 run for the visitors, including six from Holinski and five from sophomore forward Kylie Gallagher (Upton, Mass.), for a 13-5 lead with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter. Simmons cut the deficit to 16-12 at 1:26 with a 7-3 burst, paced by five points from Stapelfeld.
Stapelfeld knocked down the second of two free throws to pull the Sharks to within 16-13 and Courchesne later converted a layup to keep it a three-point game at 18-15 with 9:19 to play in the second quarter, but it was as close as the home team would get for the rest of the evening. MIT maintained a 24-19 lead with 2:22 to go in the opening half, before its big run to close out the period.
Simmons returns to the hardwood on Friday, November 16 when it travels to Wenham, Mass. to take on Gordon College at 7:00 p.m. in the opening game of the Gordon Classic, while the Engineers head to Beverly, Mass. to play Endicott College on November 11 at 1:00 p.m.