BOSTON, Mass. – Sophomore guard Cassandra Stapelfeld (Brookline, N.H.) scored 25 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter to help the Simmons University women's basketball team erase an 11-point second-half deficit and come away with a 70-62 victory over visiting Johnson & Wales University this afternoon in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference contest at Moore Gymnasium on the campus of Simmons in Boston, Mass. The Sharks finish their season with a 7-18 mark, including 4-8 in league play, while the Wildcats fall to 6-19 and 5-7.
Johnson & Wales earns the eighth seed in the GNAC Championship Tournament and will take on top-seeded Saint Joseph's College in the quarterfinal round on Tuesday, February 19 in Standish, Maine.
Despite shooting 26.7% (8-30) in the first half, Simmons rebounded to shoot 43.8% (14-32), including 7-11 (63.6%) from three-point range in the second half and scored 42 points in the final 15 minutes of the contest. The Sharks dominated the boards with a 49-36 rebounding advantage, including 17 offensive caroms to contribute to a 19-6 second chance points margin.
Stapelfeld came off the bench to knock down four three-pointers and added five rebounds, a steal and an assist. She finishes the season with school records in season points (546) made field goals (182) and scoring average (21.8 ppg.), while senior guard Francesca Corsinetti (Johnston, R.I.) closed out her career with 16 points, including four three-pointers, to go with a rebound and an assist. Senior point guard Rebekah Carroll (Londonderry, N.H.) capped her tenure with nine points (7-8 from the free throw line), six rebounds, three assists and a steal, while senior Molly Phillips (Cranston, R.I.) pulled down nine rebounds in addition to seven points, three assists and a steal. Senior forward Lauren Brandau (Madison, Conn.) also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and added four assists, two points and a blocked shot.
Sophomore forward Marissa Cottrell (New Berlin, Conn.) paced the Wildcats with 13 points on 6-12 from the floor and pulled down six rebounds to go with a steal, a block and an assist. First year guard Dede Stevenson (Hartford, Conn.) contributed with 15 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals and senior Ally Mishol (Longmeadow, Mass.) chipped in with 12 points, six rebounds, a pair of steals and an assist.
Cottrell made a lay-up to give Johnson & Wales a 39-28 lead with 5:14 to play, but Simmons put together a furious 16-2 run over the next four minutes, fueled by a pair of three-pointers from Corsinetti and capped by a triple from Stapelfeld to give the home team a 44-41 lead with 1:14 to go in the third period. Stevenson canned a trifecta for the Wildcats before the end of the quarter to knot the game at 44-44 after three periods of play.
The teams remained tied at 50-50 at the 7:16 mark, following a lay-up from Johnson & Wales junior guard Britney Gallagher (New City, N.Y.). Stapelfeld controlled the next two minutes of play with nine points on 2-2 from the floor and 4-4 from the line and added a rebound and a steal to spark an 11-0 run to give the Sharks a 61-50 cushion with 2:58 showing on the fourth quarter clock. The Wildcats looked to get back into the game with a 10-3 stretch, capped by a pair of free throws from Stevenson to pull them to within 64-60 with 73 seconds left in the game. Simmons scored the next six points to hold off the visitors' charge and take a 70-60 lead before the final buzzer sounded with a 70-62 final.
Johnson & Wales held an early 5-4 edge in the opening quarter, before a 10-5 string, including a pair of three-balls from Corsinetti, gave the Sharks a 14-10 lead. The Wildcats scored the final four points of the period, including a three-pointer from Stevenson, to tie the game at 14-14 after one quarter.
Cottrell capped a 9-2 run with a jumper to give Johnson & Wales a 23-16 lead with 4:25 left in the second quarter. Stapelfeld later cut the deficit to 25-21 with a jump shot for Simmons, but first year forward Tara Murphy (Killingworth, Conn.) connected for a jumper at the buzzer to give the visitors a 27-21 halftime lead.
The Wildcats scored nine of the first 11 points of the third quarter, including a three-pointer from Gallagher, to take a 36-25 margin with 6:40 to play in the period, before the Sharks began their comeback.
Corsinetti finishes her career as the Simmons career leader in made three-point field goals with 138 (138-468, 29.5%) and with 650 points in 95 games. Carroll averaged 10.7 points in her final season to contribute to 440 points in 90 career contests and 231 assists for the third-most helpers in school annals, while her 142 steals put her fifth all-time. Brandau calls it a career with 266 points and 401 rebounds in 91 games, while Phillips averaged 9.2 points in two seasons after transferring to the Fenway campus prior to last season. She finishes with 559 points in 87 games over four seasons, including two at Rhode Island College. Senior guard Alexandra Kay (Forked River, N.J.) converted her only field goal attempt in her final contest and closes out her time with 39 games played.