BOSTON, Mass. -- The Simmons University women's basketball team almost came back from 26 down, but fell short in a 72-65 loss to visiting Fisher College this afternoon at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks fall to 4-12 on the season, while the Falcons improve to 13-8.
Fisher took advantage of 23 Simmons turnovers, outscoring its host, 30-13 in points off turnovers, but the Sharks kept themselves in the game with a 55-35 rebounding advantage, including 29 offensive caroms. Simmons was held to 27.6% (16-58) shooting from the floor, including 15.8% (3-19) in the first half and missed 18 free throws of a school-record 48 attempted. The 30 made free throws are the second-most ever made by a Sharks squad with 36 fouls called on the Falcons.
Sophomore guard Cassandra Stapelfeld (Brookline, N.H.) led all scorers with 27 points, including 8-10 from the free throw line for Simmons, in addition to a rebound and a steal. The shooting guard converted her first five free throws, before missing in the third quarter to end the longest made free throw streak in the nation at 31 straight. Senior guard Molly Phillips (Cranston, R.I.) registered a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds to go with a steal and a block, while senior point guard Rebekah Carroll (Londonderry, N.H.) chipped in with 13 points, four boards, three assists and matched her career best with five steals. Sophomore guard Suzie Cosme (Framingham, Mass.) came off the bench to contribute with a personal-high 11 rebounds and added six points and two assists.
Junior guard Vivian Lara (Norwalk, Calif.) scored 25 points and was 9-16 from the floor, including 5-10 from three-point range and added six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a pair of blocks to lead Fisher. Sophomore guard Choon-Hee Chae (Kyle, Texas) came off the bench to score a season-high 18 points on 6-11 from the field to go with two rebounds and an assist and junior guard Kellie Gaston (Tampa, Fla.) netted 13 points, grabbed a rebound, handed out an assist and picked up a career-high four steals. Junior forward Jenny-Lynn Eggers (Sonoma, Calif.) contributed with 11 rebounds, seven points, four assists, a steal and a blocked shot.
The Falcons controlled the opening quarter, taking an 18-4 lead over the first nine minutes of the period, including eight from Gaston. The Sharks cut the deficit to 21-10 before the end of the quarter, including four points from the free throw line with 0.5 seconds left on the clock.
Carroll converted the second of two free throws to pull Simmons to within 24-13 with 6:18 showing in the second quarter, but Fisher put together a 16-3 run to take a 40-16 lead with 2:20 left in the opening half. Chae later knocked down a pair of free throws with 28 ticks left in the quarter to give the visitors their largest lead of the game at 46-20. Stapelfeld made a lay-up before the half for the Sharks to make it a 46-22 halftime score.
Simmons came alive in the third quarter, outscoring Fisher, 28-16, including 10 points apiece from Stapelfeld and Carroll. The Sharks went on an 18-2 blitz over the first six and a half minutes of the quarter, including eight from Carroll, to pull to within 50-40 with 3:41 remaining in the period. Simmons kept the deficit at a dozen going into the fourth quarter by a count of 62-50.
The Sharks continued their charge, scoring seven of the first nine points of the final period, including four from Stapelfeld, to cut the deficit to 64-57 with 7:14 to go in the game. Lara gave the Falcons a double-digit lead again with a lay-up at the 4:04 mark to make it 69-58, but Simmons ripped off seven unanswered points to close to within 69-65 with 53 seconds left in the contest. The Sharks looked to tie the game, but turned the ball over in their next three possessions as Fisher held on for the victory.
Simmons returns to action on Tuesday, January 22 when it crosses the street to take on Great Northeast Athletic Conference rival Emmanuel College at 7:00 p.m., while the Falcons head to Lyndonville, Vt. to play Northern Vermont University-Lyndon on the same night at 6:00 p.m.