Rose and Rizzuto combine for 34 points in Falcons non-conference setback
WORCESTER, Mass. – The Fitchburg State women's basketball team opened its 2016-17 slate this evening, dropping a 76-62 decision to the Cougars of Clark University in non-conference action at the Kneller Athletic Center.
Fitchburg State opened the contest with a 5-0 run on a three pointer from freshman guard Emma Thomson and layup by sophomore center Katelynn Rizzuto before the Cougars closed out the first quarter (20-7) on a 20-2 stretch as sophomore guard Cori Ouellette netted nine of Clark's 20 points during the run.
In the second quarter, the Falcons cut the deficit to 27-13 on a three ball by senior guard Briana Pelton and a pair of free-throws from Rizzuto. Clark responded with a pair of jumpers from senior Aretha Sullivan and junior Sam O'Gara to take its largest lead of the half (35-16).
The two teams proceeded to trade buckets over the final 1:52 of the first half with freshman Kyra Rose collecting both layups for the Falcons, while O'Gara posted two jumpers for the Cougars to make the score 42-24 going into the break.
Following intermission, Fitchburg State opened the third by scoring five consecutive points on a jumper from Rose and trey by Thomson before the opposition broke into an 8-0 run as Sullivan drained a trey, while O'Gara and senior Gwyneth Ivory added baskets for the hosts as well to give the Cougars a 61-42 advantage heading into the final quarter of play.
In the fourth quarter, the Green and Gold went on a 9-1 run midway through the frame to cut the lead to just nine (64-55) as freshman guard Jaliannette Marquez connected on a pair of jumpers, while senior guard Shabeli Villa added a trio of free-throws.
That's as close as the Falcons would get however as Clark sank 4-of-6 free-throws down the stretch to hold on for the 76-62 final.
For Fitchburg State, Rose posted a team-best 22 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks in her collegiate debut, while Rizzuto added a double-double of 12 points and 15 caroms as well as two assists and five steals.
Sullivan led the way for Clark with a game-high 25 points, seven boards, three assists and three steals, while O'Gara chipped in with 25 points, three rebounds, five assists and five steals for the Cougars.
Throughout the contest, Fitchburg State shot 33.9% (21-for-62) from the field as well as 16-of-19 (84.2%) from the charity stripe, while Clark finished 23-for-52 (44.2%) overall and 62.5% (25-of-40) from the free-throw line.
Fitchburg State (0-1; 0-0 MASCAC) returns to the hardwood on Friday as it takes on Saint Joseph's of Connecticut in opening round action of the 2016 Saint Joseph Tip-Off Tournament at 6 p.m. Clark (1-0, 0-0 NEWMAC) will travel to Worcester State on Friday in opening round action of the 2016 Worcester City Tournament at 6 p.m.