Phillips Hits Game-Winner and Leads Basketball to 76-75 Win at Rivier

Phillips Hits Game-Winner and Leads Basketball to 76-75 Win at Rivier

NASHUA, N.H. -- Senior Molly Phillips (Cranston, R.I.) drained a three-pointer with 6.3 seconds to play to give the Simmons University women's basketball team a 76-75 victory over host Rivier University this afternoon in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference contest at Muldoon Gymnasium in Nashua, N.H. The Sharks improve to 6-17 overall and 3-7 in league play, while the Raiders fall to 3-18 and 1-10.

Simmons led by 10 points at halftime, before Rivier came all the way back to take the lead with less than a minute to play in the game.

Phillips (24), sophomore guard Cassandra Stapelfeld (Brookline, N.H.) (21) and senior point guard Rebekah Carroll (Londonderry, N.H.) (20) combined for 65 points and were part of the first trio of players to net 20 or more points in a game for the Sharks in at least 12 years. Phillips was 7-14 from the floor, including 4-6 from three-point range and added three rebounds and a steal, while Stapelfeld pulled down five rebounds, dished out three assists and made a pair of steals. Her final two points of the contest were her 500th and 501st of the season to make her the first player in school history to go over the 500-point mark for a season. Carroll also knocked down four trifectas to go with three rebounds, three assists and a steal. 

Senior guard Kaylee Kacavas (Dracut, Mass.) led all scorers with 42 points on 14-24 from the field and was 12-16 from the free throw line in addition to handing out seven assists, grabbing two rebounds and picking up a steal for the Raiders. Senior guard Elizabeth Meethan (Nashua, N.H.) posted a double-double with 14 points and 11 assists, while snaring four rebounds. 

Carroll converted a pair of free throws with 2:26 to play in the game to break a 71-71 tie and give Simmons a two-point lead. First year guard Cydney Lessard (Auburn, N.H.) drilled a three-pointer with 57 ticks left in the contest to give Rivier a 74-73 edge and classmate Ciera Clark (Pembroke, N.H.) sank the second of two free throws to bump the home team's lead to 75-73 with 19 seconds showing on the clock. The Sharks called a timeout and Phillips nailed a three ball from the right side to give them a 76-75 lead with 6.3 seconds left to play in the game. The Raiders looked to counter with a three-pointer of their own, but Clark's trey attempt missed the mark as time expired.

Simmons scored the first 10 points to open the game, including four points from Stapelfeld and a three-pointer each from Carroll and Phillips. Carroll hit a three-pointer with eight seconds left in the opening quarter to give the Sharks a 16-9 lead before the end of the period. The teams traded baskets to open the second quarter with Simmons owning an 18-11 lead before putting together a 13-6 stretch, paced by five points apiece from Phillips and Stapelfeld and capped by a Carroll triple to give the Sharks a 31-17 cushion with 7:19 remaining in the first half. Carroll sank another three-pointer later in the period to maintain the Simmons lead at 40-26 with 1:43 showing in the quarter. Rivier scored the final four points of the period to pull to within 40-30 at the intermission.

Stapelfeld completed a three-point play with a lay-up and a free throw to give the Sharks their largest lead of the day at 52-37 with 4:41 left in the third quarter. The Raiders chipped away at the deficit, outscoring their guests, 16-7, in the final four-plus minutes to pull to within 59-53 at the end of three quarters of play. Kacavas led the late charge with 10 points during the string.

Meehan canned a pair of three-pointers to bring Rivier even at 59-59 just 44 seconds into the final period. The teams stayed within four points of each other over the next four minutes and Carroll made a lay-up to give Simmons a 67-63 lead with 5:21 to go in the game. The Raiders held the Sharks scoreless over the next minute and a half, while ripping off five unanswered points, including a pair of free throws from Kacavas, to give them their first lead of the day at 68-67 with 4:04 showing on the clock. The teams went back and forth over the next minute, including a three-pointer from Kacavas to put Rivier back on top at 71-69 with 3:16 to play. Phillips countered with a pair of free throws at the three-minute mark to knot the contest at 71-71.

Simmons returns to action on Tuesday, February 12 when it travels to Weston, Mass. to take on GNAC foe Regis (Mass.) at 8:00 p.m., while the Raiders host Fisher College on the same night at 7:00 p.m.