BOSTON – Suffolk women's basketball held off a Johnson & Wales comeback to secure its spot in the GNAC semifinals behind a 68-46 victory over the Wildcats Tuesday night inside Regan Gymnasium.
SCORE: Suffolk 68, Johnson & Wales 46
RECORDS: Suffolk (20-6) | Johnson & Wales (15-11)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After exchanging the lead twice, Jenni-Rose DiCecco took over. The freshman floor general sparked a 10-2 Suffolk run, which including seven points from the floor, to put the hosts ahead, 15-7. Johnson & Wales took its first timeout of the evening and held Suffolk over the remaining 3:30 of the opening frame to make it a 15-10 Rams game after the first 10 minutes.
A traditional three-point play by Georgia Bourikas pushed Suffolk's advantage to double figures before the Wildcats used its second timeout of the night. The break did not stop an ensuing Suffolk run, however, as Jordan Hipwell coupled back-to-back buckets out of the break to keep the double-digit distance intact, 29-15. Down the stretch, Alexis Hackett and DiCecco combined for a 6-2 stretch to send the Rams into intermission up 35-20.
JWU commanded the third quarter, outscoring the Rams, 14-2, in the first five minutes to cut the deficit to five, 39-34. DiCecco put away the Rams first field goal in over 4:53 to end a Rams' draught and keep the hosts out in front to head into the final frame up 44-39.
The Wildcats comeback continued as the visitors pulled within one, 44-43, with 9:17 on the clock. Suffolk stayed calm, cool and collected though as Shannon Smith connected on a base-line jumper followed by back-to-back buckets from Hackett, which got the Rams going. Froom there, the blue-and-gold strung together 10 unanswered points to grab a 64-46 advantage with 53 seconds to play.
Dicecco took care of business at the line for Suffolk, shooting 4-for-4 to seal up the 68-46 victory.
- DiCecco led the way with 23 points on an 8-for-18 showing from the floor and a 5-for-6 effort from the charity stripe. She added six boards and four assists.
- Hackett had an all-around game with 14 points and 19 rebounds, 17 of which came on the defensive end.
- Bourikas and Hipwell each had 11 points. Bourikas shot 4-for-10 on the night with a 2-for-5 performance from downtown to go along with nine boards, while Hipwell went 5-for-8 from the field and pulled down seven caroms.
- As a team, Suffolk shot 44.6 percent (25-56) from the floor, 36.8 percent (7-19) from behind-the-arc and 84.6 percent (11-13) from the free throw line.
- The Rams won the battle on the glass, outrebounding the Wildcats, 52-27.
- Suffolk advances to the GNAC semifinals for the 10th time and first since 2016.
- The Rams defeated the Wildcats for the second time in the conference postseason and first since the inaugural meeting in 2007.
- The Rams improved to 18-8 versus JWU all-time.
- Suffolk won its 20th game, marking the third 20-win season for the Rams and first since 2012-13 (23-4).
- DiCecco had her second straight game with double figures in scoring and 17th outing overall with 10 or more points.
- DiCecco put together her fifth 20-point performance.
- Hackett combined her 17th game with double figure rebounds and 16th outing with 10 or more points for her 12th double-double of the season.
- Hackett's 19 rebounds mark the most for a Ram in the game-by-game record book, which dates back through the 2010-11 season.
- Bourikas dropped double figures in 21 of Suffolk's 26 games this year and four consecutive games.
- Hackett recorded double figures for the ninth time in her career.
Suffolk advances to the GNAC semis Thursday, Feb. 24 where it will head across town to face the field's second seed Emmanuel.