NASHUA, N.H. - Senior forward Nicole Alberghini (Northborough, Mass.) scored a career-high 15 points and added eight rebounds to lead the Simmons College women's basketball team in a 69-61 loss to host Rivier University this afternoon in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference contest at Muldoon Gymnasium in Nashua, N.H. The Sharks fall to 6-8 overall and 0-3 in GNAC play, while the Raiders improve to 7-6 and 3-0.
Rivier took advantage of 29 trips to the free throw line, while converting 21 of those attempts. The home team also owned an 18-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
Alberghini was 7-9 from the floor for Simmons, while first year guard Francesca Corsinetti (Johnston, R.I.) netted 14 points, including four three-pointers in addition to two rebounds and four assists. Junior guard Jamie Zoldy (Watertown, Conn.) came off the bench to score 10 points grab three boards, hand out three assists and block a shot. Sophomore forward Presley Silva (Wilmington, Mass.) also chipped in with nine points, six rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.
First year guard Kaylee Kacavas (Dracut, Mass.) poured in a game-high 20 points to lead the Raiders and added nine rebounds, two assists and a steal. Junior guard Caitlyn Perry (Nashua, N.H.) netted 18 points, pulled down a rebound, dished out a game-high seven assists and blocked a shot, while junior guard Caitlin Bulger (Quincy, Mass.) scored 13 points, made three steals and doled out two assists. Junior forward Savanna Butterfield (Londonderry, N.H.) posted a double-double of 11 points and a game-best 14 rebounds to go with three assists and a steal.
The Raiders never trailed in the game, but the Sharks were knocking on their door throughout the contest.
Rivier jumped out to a commanding 19-4 lead with 5:28 to play in the opening quarter, fueled by eight points from Bulger. The home team later maintained a 25-11 cushion with 2:24 showing in the first quarter, but Simmons fought back with seven unanswered points to close out the period, capped by a three-pointer from Corinsetti to cut the deficit to 25-18.
The Sharks began the second quarter as they ended the first, with seven straight points, capped by a pair of free throws from junior forward Liz Brasa (East Hartford, Conn.) to pull them even at 25-25 with 4:19 to go in the first half. Butterfield halted the Raiders' scoring drought, which lasted nearly 10 minutes until she knocked down a jump shot to give them a 27-25 lead at the 2:57 mark of the period. Rivier took a 31-27 lead into halftime.
The Raiders later owned a 35-31 lead, following a Brasa jumper to pull the visitors back to within four points at 7:37. Perry and Bulger canned back-to-back threes for Rivier to increase its lead to 41-31 with 6:13 remaining in the quarter. The Raiders maintained a 47-37 advantage at the 1:44 mark of the period and took a 49-42 margin into the final period of play.
The Sharks cut the margin to 49-47 with the first five points of the period and pulled to within a point after Silva converted a lay-up at 7:01 to make it 53-52. It was as close as they would get for the rest of the contest. Rivier ripped off eight consecutive points, capped by a Kacavas trifecta to increase its lead to 61-52. The Raiders later matched their largest lead of the day at 66-56 with 1:37 left in the game and held Simmons off for the win.
The Sharks return to action on Monday, January 18 when they host GNAC opponent University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) at Moore Gymnasium for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off, while Rivier travels to New Haven, Conn. to take on Albertus Magnus College at 1:00 p.m. on the same day.