NORTHFIELD, Vt. -- Sophomore guard Cassandra Stapelfeld (Brookline, N.H.) scored 17 points to lead the Simmons University women's basketball team in a 69-54 loss to host Norwich University this evening in Great Northeast Athletic Conference action at Andrews Hall Gymnasium in Northfield, Vt. The Sharks fall to 4-10 overall and 1-1 in league play, while the Cadets improve to 6-7 and 1-1.
Norwich used a big second half to pull away from Simmons, including a fourth quarter that saw it hold a 25-15 margin. The Cadets controlled the boards with a 43-35 rebounding margin and outscored the Sharks, 16-7 in second chance points.
Stapelfeld added five rebounds to her night for Simmons, while senior Molly Phillips (Cranston, R.I.) contributed with 13 points, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Senior guard Francesca Corsinetti (Johnston, R.I.) came off the bench to net eight points and classmate Rebekah Carroll (Londonderry, N.H.) chipped in with seven points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Sophomore guard Kailynne Frederick (Adams, Mass.) led Norwich with a game-high 18 points off the bench to go with seven rebounds, three steals, two blocks and an assist in 24 minutes of action. Sophomore guard Riley Bennett (Hopkinton, N.H.) scored 14 points, grabbed two rebounds, blocked a pair of shots, made a steal and handed out an assist, while senior guard Emily Oliver (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) dropped in 11 points, pulled down eight boards, dished out three assists and blocked a shot.
Oliver knocked down a three-pointer to crack the scoring column early in the first quarter for the Cadets, but the Sharks went on a 12-3 run, fueled by five points each from Phillips and junior forward Kirra Courchesne (Wilmington, Vt.), to give the visitors a 12-6 lead with 4:13 to go in the period. Carroll later drilled a three-pointer to make it 15-10 for Simmons with 63 seconds left, but sophomore guard Emily Schromm (North Attleboro, Mass.) drained a trifecta at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 15-13 for the home team.
The Sharks opened the second quarter by scoring five of the first six points to take a 20-14 lead with 7:51 left in the period. Norwich put together a 12-1 run, led by five points each from first year guard Mary Casamassa (Wexford, Pa.) and Bennett, to take a 26-21 lead with 4:17 remaining in the first half. Simmons closed out the session on an 8-4 stretch, including six points from Stapelfeld, to cut the margin to 30-29 at the intermission.
A three-pointer from Bennett gave the Cadets a 39-32 lead at the 6:25 mark of the third quarter, but Corsinetti later countered with a trey for the Sharks to pull them to within 39-37 with 5:36 showing in the period. It would be as close as the visitors would come for the remainder of the contest. Frederick scored the next five points to increase Norwich's lead to 44-37 with 1:50 to play in the period, before the Cadets took a 44-39 lead into the fourth quarter.
Norwich scored the first six points of the final period, including four from senior forward Vanessa Fleury (Lebanon, N.H.), to take a 50-39 cushion with 8:03 left to play. Stapelfeld converted a lay-up at the 5:34 mark to pull Simmons to within 57-50, before the Cadets closed out the contest on a 12-4 run, led by six points from Oliver, to secure the win.
The Sharks return to the hardwood on Thursday, January 17 when they host GNAC rival Albertus Magnus College for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off at Moore Gymnasium, while Norwich heads to Weston, Mass. to take on GNAC foe Regis (Mass.) on January 12 at 1:00 p.m.