Women's Basketball Edged by Simmons

BOSTON, Mass. – A pair of free throws by Liz O'Connor (Milton, Mass.) with 59 seconds left gave Simmons a 51-50 lead and helped propel the Sharks to its first win of the 2011-12 campaign with a 53-50 win in a non-conference contest played at the Holmes Sports Center.

Simmons took an early, 6-2 lead on a pair of sophomore Hannah May (Hamden, Conn.) three pointers in a span of 22 seconds before the Leopards used an 8-3 spurt and took a 12-9 lead on a basket by junior Morgan Furman (Falmouth, Maine).

Wentworth led by as many as four on two occasions, including after a sophomore Kendra Kerr (Marshfield, Mass.) basket with 9:28 left, before the Sharks used a 9-2 run to take a 21-18 lead with 5:03 left in the half when sophomore Georgia Kostopoulos (Cambridge, Mass.) hit one of two free throws.

The Leopards held the Sharks scoreless over the final 5:03 of the half and used a 10-0 run to take a 28-21 lead at the break. During the run, Furman and junior Ashley Conway (Danvers, Mass.) hit back-to-back three pointers.

After Simmons opened the half with a basket to cut the lead to five, Wentworth got a pair of free throws from sophomore Paige Newcomb (Topsfield, Mass.) and a three ball from Conway to take a 10-point (33-23) lead two minutes into the second half. A 7-1 Sharks run – keyed by four points from freshman Olivia LaCroix (Manchester, N.H.) – trimmed the lead to four.

Wentworth's lead increased to eight on two occasions, including when Conway hit a three with 14:26 left. However, the hosts used a 12-3 run and took a 45-44 lead on a LaCroix basket. Kerr and Newcomb scored the Leopards' next four points to give the Black & Gold a 48-45 lead with 7:10 left. The Sharks countered with the next four points, including O'Connor's basket with 3:53 left to give Simmons a 49-48 lead.

A steal and layup by Conway gave Wentworth a 50-49 lead with 3:33 left, however neither team scored until O'Connor's free throws gave the Sharks the lead. The Leopards got an offensive rebound with 40 ticks left, but would miss the second chance opportunity. LaCroix hit two free throws to give Simmons a 53-50 lead and Wentworth shot at tying the game fell short as time expired.

LaCroix scored a team-high 18 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Sophomore Leah Davis (Cranston, R.I.) added nine points and six rebounds, while May added eight points.

Kerr connected on 9-of-16 shots, en route to a game and career-high 21 points, 11 rebounds, and two steals. Conway added 12 points and three steals and Newcomb chipped in with eight points and four assists. Wentworth outrebounded Simmons, 40-28.

With the win the Sharks improve to 1-4 and host Fitchburg State on Thursday. Wentworth falls to 0-4 and opens Commonwealth Coast Conference play Wednesday against the University of New England.