BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Sophomore guard Cassandra Stapelfeld (Brookline, N.H.) and senior guard Rebekah Carroll (Londonderry, N.H.) combined for 46 points to lead the Simmons University women's basketball team in a 81-78 loss to State University of New York College at Old Westbury this afternoon in the opening round of the 20th Annual Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial Tournament hosted by Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Sharks fall to 0-5 on the season, while the Panthers improve to 3-0.
Old Westbury defeated Simmons by 21 points just seven days earlier, but the Sharks led by as many as 11 points this afternoon and shot 53.6% (15-28) from the floor in the first half, while holding the Panthers to just 33.3% (11-33). The teams' shooting fate switched in the second half with Old Westbury making 60% (18-30) of it shots, while limiting Simmons to 30% (9-30). The Sharks were outstanding from three-point range, knocking down seven of 14 tries for a 50% clip.
Stapelfeld poured in a game-high 26 points and was 13-14 from the free throw line in addition to grabbing three rebounds, handing out two assists and making a pair of steals. Her point total is the most by a Simmons sophomore since Emily Thomas scored 27 points at Elms College on November 20, 2010. Carroll scored a career-high 20 points on 5-10 from the field and 8-10 from the line to go with seven boards, two assists and two steals. Senior forward Molly Phillips (Cranston, R.I.) posted her first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds and added three assists, two blocks and a steal.
Sophomore guard Micah Browne (Brooklyn, N.Y.) netted 22 points on 7-12 from the floor and 8-10 from the free throw line and dished out seven assists, pulled down four rebounds and made two steals for the Panthers. Senior forward Monique Joseph (Elmont, N.Y.) registered a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds in addition to handing out four assists, making a game-high four steals and blocking a shot. Junior center Davida Warren (Brooklyn, N.Y.) chipped in with 15 points on 7-9 shooting and hauled in six rebounds to go with a block.
Senior guard Tori Bellings (Brooklyn, N.Y.) gave Old Westbury a 77-73 lead with a layup coming with 68 seconds left to play in the game. The Sharks scored five of the next six points and pulled even at 78-78 when Stapelfeld made one of two free throws with 10 seconds left in the game. Senior center Charlotte Renker (Mineola, N.Y.) pulled down the second free throw that was off the mark and advanced the ball to Browne, who made a lay-up and was fouled before sinking the free throw to complete a three-point play and give the Panthers an 81-78 margin with four ticks left on the clock. Stapelfeld's game-tying three-point try fell short and Old Westbury came away with the victory.
The Panthers jumped out to an 11-2 lead, fueled by six points from Joseph, with 6:46 to go in the first quarter. Simmons responded with a 14-2 run, led by seven points from Stapelfeld, to take a 16-13 margin with 3:17 to play in the period. Carroll converted one of two free throws before the end of the quarter to cap a 20-5 stretch for the Sharks, who went into the second quarter with a 22-16 cushion.
Old Westbury later closed to within 31-27 following a layup from sophomore guard La'Niya Clark (Amityville, N.Y.) with 4:59 showing on the second quarter clock. The Sharks put together a 9-2 run, paced by five points from Stapelfeld, to take their largest lead of the day at 40-29 with 2:56 left in the opening half. Simmons maintained its lead and entered the intermission with a 44-34 advantage.
The Sharks held a 46-36 lead with 8:46 to play in the third quarter, but the Panthers went on a spirited 15-3 blitz, highlighted by eight points from Warren, to take a 51-49 lead with 48 seconds remaining in the period. Junior forward Kirra Courchesne (Wilmington, Vt.) made a layup for Simmons to knot the score at 51-all before the end of the third quarter.
The teams later remained tied at 58-58 with 7:19 left in the contest, before Stapelfeld scored the next five points, including a three-pointer to give the Sharks a 63-58 lead with 6:45 to go. Browne later made a layup to give Old Westbury a 69-67 lead and Joseph extended the lead to 71-67 with a layup at the 2:37 mark of the final quarter. The Panthers did not trail for the rest of the way.
The Sharks will take be in action again tomorrow when they play in the tournament's consolation game at 1:00 p.m., while Old Westbury will play for the championship at 3:00 p.m.