Brandau, Stapelfeld Lead Basketball over Lasell, 67-56

Brandau, Stapelfeld Lead Basketball over Lasell, 67-56

BOSTON, Mass. – Senior forward Lauren Brandau (Madison, Conn.) and sophomore guard Cassandra Stapelfeld (Brookline, N.H.) combined for 40 points to lead the Simmons University women's basketball team over visiting Lasell College this evening in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference season opener at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks improve to 4-9 overall and 1-0 in league play, while the Lasers fall to 5-8 and 0-1. 

Simmons dominated the boards with a 44-28 rebound advantage and shot 41.5% (22-53) from the floor, while holding Lasell to 34.4% (21-61). 

Stapelfeld was a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line to contribute to a game-high 21 points and extend her consecutive made free throw streak to 24 in a row. She also added three rebounds, two assists, a steal and a blocked shot for the Sharks, while Brandau was 9-13 from the floor for a career-high 19 points to go with six rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. Junior forward Kirra Courchesne (Wilmington, Vt.) chipped in with six points, an assist, a block and a career-high seven rebounds and sophomore forward Denae Douglas (Towson, Md.) matched her career best with eight boards, while senior point guard Rebekah Carroll (Londonderry, N.H.) contributed with eight points, six rebounds, four assists and a steal in 22 minutes. 

Graduate student guard Breanna Muir (Wareham, Mass.) scored 13 points, including 7-8 from the free throw line in addition to five rebounds and an assist for the Lasers, while junior guard Amanda Ortiz (Newton, Mass.) netted 13 points, grabbed four boards, handed out two assists and picked up a steal. Junior guard D'Asia Allen (Providence, R.I.) came off the bench to contribute with 10 points, three rebounds and a steal. 

The teams traded the lead seven times in the first three minutes of the third quarter, before Brandau converted a lay-up with 7:08 left in the period to give Simmons the lead for good at 32-31. Muir sank a jumper at 4:37 to keep Lasell to within a point at 35-34, but the Sharks went on a 10-2 run, capped by Carroll's second trifecta of the stretch, to give the home team a 45-36 cushion with 59 seconds left in the period. Simmons took a 45-38 lead into the fourth quarter. 

Muir knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 49-45 with 7:16 to play in the game, but the Sharks scored 11 of the next 13 points, including six from Stapelfeld, to take their largest lead of the night at 60-47 with 2:25 showing on the fourth quarter clock. The Lasers reeled off seven unanswered points, capped by a three-point play from Ortiz, to pull the visitors to within 60-54 at 1:21, but that would be as close as they would get as Simmons closed out the game on a 7-2 run to secure the victory. 

Lasell scored the first seven points of the contest to take a 7-0 lead with 5:22 remaining in the opening quarter. The Sharks responded with an 11-3 burst, paced by six points from Stapelfeld and five from senior guard Francesca Corsinetti (Johnston, R.I.), to take an 11-10 edge with 1:50 left in the period. Allen later canned a three-pointer to give the Lasers a 15-11 margin, before Carroll made a lay-up as time expired to bring Simmons to within 15-13 at the end of one quarter. 

The teams played within four points of each other for the entire second quarter with graduate student guard Imani Bumpus (Dedham, Mass.) driving for a lay-up to give Lasell a 21-17 lead at the 3:46 mark of the quarter. Brandau followed with a lay-up and Stapelfeld drained a three-ball to give the Sharks a 22-21 edge at 2:38, but Allen nailed a jumper at 1:12 to take back the lead for the Lasers, who owned a 25-24 edge at halftime. 

Simmons returns to action on Thursday, January 10 when it travels to Northfield, Vt. to take on GNAC foe Norwich University at 5:30 p.m., while Lasell hosts Colby-Sawyer College in a league match-up on January 12 at 2:00 p.m.