WELLESLEY, Mass. – Wellesley College basketball shook off a slow start to down visiting Simmons College, 66-47, in non-conference play on Tuesday evening at Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse.
The Blue defeated Simmons for the second straight contest to improve to 2-1 overall. The Sharks are now 0-3 on the year. The two squads also played last weekend at the Vassar Tip-Off tournament, with Wellesley taking a 68-39 win.
First year Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, Calif.) dropped in 16 points to lead the Blue. Cho was 5-for-11 from the floor while also securing a team-high eight rebounds and adding a pair of steals. Senior Kayla Jang (South Pasadena, Calif.) joined Cho in double figures, finishing with 11 points and seven boards. Sophomore Kendall You Mak (San Francisco, Calif.) chipped in with nine points and six rebounds off the Blue bench.
Simmons senior forward Presley Silva (Wilmington, Mass.) recorded her first double-double of the season, leading all players in points, with 18, and rebounds, with 12, while also tallying four steals, three blocks, and a pair of assists. Junior Molly Phillips (Cranston, R.I.) added nine points for Simmons, while chipping in with three more of the Sharks' 12 steals in the contest. First year Jalissa Rodriguez (Waterbury, Conn.) added seven points, three rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes off the bench.
After outscoring the Sharks by 29 points in Saturday's contest at Vassar, Wellesley was limited to just two points in the opening quarter. The Blue knocked down just 1-of-8 attempts from the field and quickly fell behind the visitors, as a jumper in the final minute from sophomore Kirra Courchesne (Wilmington, Vt.) helped the Sharks closed out the quarter with an 8-2 lead.
Wellesley found their rhythm in the second stanza, shooting 8-of-12 from the floor to turn a six-point deficit into a seven-point, 30-23, lead at the half. The Blue tied the contest, 12-12, at 6:17, when a triple from senior Chelsea Brown (San Jose, Calif.) capped a 10-2 Wellesley run. Simmons regained the lead on their next possession, when layup from first year Julia LaMontagne (Amesbury, Mass.) made the score 14-12, and held on to a slim advantage until Wellesley sophomore Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) knocked down a three to give the Blue their first lead, 21-20, with 2:41 left in the quarter. Wellesley closed out the half on a 12-3 run to take the lead at the break.
The Blue added to their lead in the third, outscoring Simmons 17-14, in a closely contested period. Simmons scored six straight points at the start of the quarter to close their halftime deficit to 29-30 when Silva hit a layup at 6:08. However, the Blue never relinquished the lead, as the six-point Simmons run was met with a 10-0 Wellesley run that pushed the Blue advantage to 11, at 40-29, with 2:18 left before the fourth. Simmons cut the deficit to nine on a pair of occasions, but Jang hit one-of-two free throws at the end of the quarter to make the Wellesley lead 47-37.
Wellesley went on to close out the game in the fourth quarter, taking their largest lead of the night with just 1:01 left when sophomore Emily Kopp (Fing Ferry, N.Y.) secured the 66-47 final with a layup. The Blue finished the game shooting 42.2% from the floor, while Simmons ended the contest at 32.1%. Wellesley also had the advantage on the glass, 40-34.
The Blue will break for Thanksgiving before return to action on Sunday, November 26, with a 6:00 PM contest at Worcester State. Simmons will pay in Worcester next Wednesday, November 28, when they travel to Clark for a 7:00 PM tip-off.