BOSTON, Mass. – Junior guard Katie Stopera (Hollis, N.H.) unleashed on the court with a career-high 35 points to lift the Lasell College women's basketball team over Simmons College, 74-62, this evening in the first Great Northeast Athletic Conference contest of the season for both teams at Moore Gymnasium on the campus of Simmons in Boston, Mass. The Lasers improve to 5-8 overall and 1-0 in league play, while the Sharks fall to 4-9 and 0-1.
The Lasers owned a 51-34 lead following a Stopera jumper at the 15:11 mark of the second half, but Simmons ripped off 10 unanswered points as part of a 20-6 burst, sparked by six points each from first year forward Presley Silva (Wilmington, Mass.) and junior guard Jennifer Janiak (Chelmsford, Mass.) to pull the Sharks to within 57-54 with 7:02 showing on the second half clock. Following a pair of good free throws from sophomore forward Liz Brasa (East Hartford, Conn.), the Sharks stayed within 60-56 with 4:19 to go in the contest, but the Lasers pulled away with a 14-6 stretch, fueled by nine points from Stopera, to close out the game.
Lasell opened the game by scoring 11 of the first 13 points in the initial five minutes, including eight from Stopera. Simmons later cut the margin to 13-6 after a Silva layup with 13:33 remaining in the first period. The Lasers bared down with a 16-7 string, capped by a three-pointer from junior guard Deanna Barrett (Berlin, Conn.) to increase the visitor's cushion to 29-13 with 6:11 left in the half. The Sharks answered by scoring seven of the next nine points, including five from Janiak, to pull to within 31-20, but Lasell kept the pressure on and later owned a 40-24 lead with 1:44 to play in the first half. The Lasers maintained the lead and took a 45-30 advantage into the intermission.
Stopera canned four three-pointers as part of her career outing for Lasell and added 13 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. She also handed out five assists and came up with four steals. Sophomore guard Sherilyn Small (Springfield, Mass.) contributed with 13 points, five assists, three rebounds and a pair of steals, while Barrett finished with nine points and a steal off the bench. Lasell was 22 of 26 from the free throw line as a team, including a perfect 13-13 from Stopera.
Brasa also posted her fourth double-double of the year for Simmons with a team-high 19 points on 7-10 from the floor and career-best 15 rebounds to go with four assists. Janiak ended the night with 14 points, a rebound and an assist, while Silva registered her second career double-double with 12 points and 10 boards in addition to an assist, a steal and a blocked shot in 18 minutes of action off the bench. Sophomore forward Ashley McAdams (Freeport, N.Y.) chipped in with eight points, seven rebounds and two assists, while sophomore points guard Jamie Zoldy (Watertown, Conn.) led all playmakers with seven assists.
Both teams continue the GNAC quest for their next match up against Albertus Magnus College. The Lasers will travel to AMC on Saturday, January 17th at 1:00 p.m., while the Sharks resume play against the Falcons on Monday, January 19th for a 1:00 p.m. tip-off.