NEWTON, Mass. – Senior forward Alexandra Clarke had a career day, as the Suffolk women's basketball team recorded its fifth straight win, knocking off Mount Ida, 80-68, inside the Mustangs' Athletic Center Saturday afternoon.
Thanks to its five-game win streak, the longest since Suffolk rattled off six straight victories from January 30-February 14, 2013, the Rams finish the regular season 16-9, 8-3 in GNAC competition and secure the fourth seed in the GNAC tournament. Mount Ida's record mirrors Suffolk's at 9-16 overall and 3-8 in conference contests.
Clarke put together the first double-double of her career with the senior pouring in a career-high 13 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, which matches her career-best. Clarke also tallied a career high in blocks to go along with one steal. Georgia Bourikas led all scorers with 20 points with the junior shooting 5-of-11 from the floor and a clutch 8-of-9 at the charity stripe. In addition to her points, the junior guard grabbed five caroms, passed out four assists and had one takeaway. Chelsea Campellone contributed her 13th double-double and fifth straight with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Kelsey Schiebel rounded out all Rams in double figures with 13, but the true story for the junior floor general was her six assists.
Mt. Ida saw four different players record double-figures paced by Angelique Martinez' 18-point, 11-rebound effort. Trish Liotta led the Mustangs in scoring with 19 with Breanna Muir and Brittany Crosby adding 17 and 12, respectively.
Clarke's first two hoops of the game were countered with a 7-0 run by the Mustangs to push the score to 7-4 in favor of the hosts. Alexandra Nagri evened the playing field with a triple, before the third Alex on Suffolk's roster got in on the action, with Alessandra Quadri laying it in to give the Rams a 9-7 lead at 4:45.
The lead flipped twice more and Suffolk rallied behind a Campellone hoop, scoring eight unanswered points, for a 20-12 edge. Mt. Ida rattled off four quick points, but a buzzer beater from Caitlyn Caramello, thanks to the set-up from Schiebel, put Suffolk in front, 22-16, after one.
The Mustangs opened the second stanza with back-to-back buckets and cut their deficit to one. Bourikas' kept the Rams in front and Caramello cushioned the lead back to four. Mt. Ida hung around and slowly chipped away at the Rams' advantage before locking the score at 31-31 thanks to a Liotta trey.
Ed Leyden called a timeout with 36 seconds remaining to talk things over with his team. The break worked in Suffolk's favor as Bourikas swished her second long ball of the day and sent the Rams into the locker rooms up 34-31.
Suffolk's well-balanced scoring shot 36.8 percent (14-38) from the field over the first 20 minutes. Clarke led the Rams with nine points and Bourikas contributed eight off the bench. Mount Ida put together a 29.0 connection rate from the floor and saw two players in double-figures at the half; Liotta (11) and Muir (10).
Out of the half, the Rams rolled on an 8-0 spurt to grab a 42-13 lead that soon blossomed to a 49-39 advantage. Leading 52-45 at the end of the third, Suffolk maintained its position and led 61-51 with just under 7 minutes remaining.
A Marissa Gudauskas hoop gave the Rams a 12-point lead, but the Mount Ida crawled back into things pulling within seven at 4:35. A Campellone bucket opened a back-and-forth game and Crosby put one in for the Mustangs to keep the deficit at seven. Quadri's layup brought it back to a nine-point game with 90 seconds remaining and clutch free throw shooting from Bourikas down the stretch secured the 80-68 victory for the Rams.
Suffolk awaits the final seeding of the GNAC tournament to find out its opponent for Tuesday night's quarterfinal match-up inside Regan Gymnasium slated for 7 p.m.