Simmons Holds Off MIT, 48-41

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Anna Merrifield’s 16 rebounds and 10 points in addition to a 10-point outing by Kristen Whaley would not be enough as host Simmons College held on for a 48-41 victory over MIT in non-conference women’s basketball action on Saturday. Aparna Sud chipped in nine points for the Engineers (2-8) while Lauren Sascha Burton tallied five rebounds and two steals. Stephanie Cooke added five boards, including four off the offensive glass.

The Sharks opened the scoring with a three-pointer, but a basket by Burton and a trey from Sud put MIT in front, 5-3. Despite two ties, the Engineers were able to maintain their slight edge courtesy of a Burton jumper. Simmons regained the lead on a three-point play, however a free throw from Cooke evened the contest at 10 with 12:16 on the clock. The Sharks responded with a trio of three-pointer to establish their largest margin of the half.

The Cardinal and Gray slowly chipped away at the deficit, coming within one (19-18) at the 7:43 mark. Merrifield was responsible for seven out of the eight points during the spurt while Burton contributed a free throw. Simmons countered with an 11-5 run to gain some breathing room. A jumper and two free throws by Whaley right before the buzzer narrowed the gap to 30-27 at the half.

The Sharks drained a pair of baskets to start the second stanza. MIT stayed within striking distance, trimming its margin to four on three occasions, the last at 41-37 on a Sud three-pointer with 7:15 on the clock. Simmons responded with a jumper and a trey to reestablish a comfortable cushion. Baskets by Sally Simpson and Whaley cut the lead to five (46-41) with 2:58 remaining in regulation. The Engineers had several chances to close the gap, but their shots wouldn’t fall. A pair of free throws by the Sharks wrapped up the scoring with 25 seconds left to play.