PROVIDENCE. R.I. – The Suffolk women's basketball team faced its toughest opponent yet in the New Year with its eight-game win streak on the line at Johnson & Wales Thursday night and the Wildcats forced 17 Rams' turnovers to stop the blue-and-gold winnings way, 54-49, inside the Wildcat Center.
SCORE: Suffolk 49, Johnson & Wales 54
RECORDS: Suffolk (13-6, 8-2 GNAC) | Johnson & Wales (10-7, 5-3 GNAC)
HOW IT HAPPENED
It was a slow start on either end but more so for Suffolk as the Rams did not a field goal for over half of the first 10 minutes and found themselves in a 7-1 hole. Alexis Hackett struck on a triple to make it a three-point game and Alexandra Clarke connected on a layup to end the first quarter scoring and keep the margin at three.
Clark opened the scoring in what would turn into a Suffolk show second stanza as Georgia Bourikas deadlocked the contest at 11-all with 8:17 on the clock thanks to a trey. The Wildcats responded with a three-pointer of their own. The Rams rallied right back and did so in dramatic fashion with 11 unanswered points, a stretch that featured five points from Bourikas and four from Caitlyn Caramello, and gave the visitors a 22-14 cushion. JWU put in the last four points of the quarter to slim Suffolk's edge to 22-18 at the intermission.
The Wildcats run carried into the third quarter with the hosts scoring the first six points to gain a 24-22 lead. Caramello evened the score once more at 24-all, before a traditional three-point play by Katelyn Rourke regained the advantage for the Rams, 27-24. From there, JWU went on an 8-0 stretch to make it a 32-27 game in the Wildcats favor.
Suffolk's offense picked up with just 1:29 remaining in the quarter as Alexis Hackett and Caramello trimmed the deficit to three. The team's traded hoops the remainder of the frame and the Rams would head into the final 10 minutes down four, 36-32.
A shooting competition began in the opening of the final frame with the squads trading buckets behind the arc. When Suffolk's shots stopped falling the Wildcats continued to pour in the hoops from downtown and built a 10-point lead, 49-39, with just over three minutes remaining.
The Rams went 5-for-6 on freebies to pull within seven and Bourikas knocked down a long ball out of a JWU timeout to make it a four-point game. It would be as close as the Rams would get, however, as the Wildcats scored at just the right times to hold off Suffolk's comeback and snap the streak, 54-49.
- Bourikas led the Rams offense with 13 points thanks to a 3-for-4 showing from behind-the-arc. The senior hand a hand in five other Suffolk hoops and grabbed seven rebounds.
- Classmate Clarke finished the night with 10 points, going 4-for-10 from the field, to go with seven boards and one swat.
- Caramello registered eight points, five caroms, one hand out and one steal.
- Rourke paced the Rams on the glass with the freshman pulling down 10 rebounds and chipped in four points, one assist and one takeaway.
- Overall, Suffolk shot 30.6 percent (15-49) from the floor, 33.3 percent (6-of-18) from three-point land and 61.9 percent (13-21) from the charity stripe.
- JWU, meanwhile, was limited to a 24.7 connection rate (18-73) from the field, but excelled on the long ball and at the foul line, shooting 40 percent (4-10) and 77.8 percent (14-18), respectively
- The Wildcats held a slim upper hand on the glass with a 49-45 advantage
- The true story fell in the Rams' 17 mistakes with JWU turning Suffolk's turnovers into 17 points thanks to 10 steals, nine more than the blue-and-gold.
- Kelsey Schiebel joined an elite group of Rams with the senior floor general appearing in her 100th collegiate game as a Suffolk University student-athlete. She is one of just 16 players to accomplish the feat and the first to do so Iliana Quadri did so in 2015.
Suffolk returns to Boston Saturday, Jan. 28 for the final Rams double feature of the regular season. The women's squad tips things off at 1 p.m. versus St. Joseph (Conn.), with the men playing Anna Maria in the nightcap at 3:15 p.m.