Western New England Rallies Past Suffolk in Season Opener, 66-58

Junior Alyssa Stefanelli posted her first career double-double with career-highs in both points (20) and rebounds (11) as the Golden Bears defeated Suffolk 66-58 in their season opener on Saturday. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)
Junior Alyssa Stefanelli posted her first career double-double with career-highs in both points (20) and rebounds (11) as the Golden Bears defeated Suffolk 66-58 in their season opener on Saturday. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)

Stefanelli posts first career double-double with 20 points & 11 rebounds

BOSTON, Mass. (November 10, 2018) – The Western New England University women's basketball team overcame a 13-point second half deficit to claim a 66-58 victory over Suffolk University on Saturday afternoon in the season-opener for both teams at Regan Gymnasium.

Top Performers
Junior forward Alyssa Stefanelli (Chicopee, Mass.) led the way for the Golden Bears with her first career double-double performance, as she finished with career-highs in both points (20) and rebounds (11) in 23 minutes off the bench. Stefanelli, who scored 15 of her 20 points in the second half, shot 8-of-11 from the field and made 2-of-4 free throws.

Juniors Emily Farrell (New Fairfield, Conn.) and Meghan Orbann (East Hampton, Conn.) were also key contributors for the Golden Bears as Farrell recorded 13 points, five rebounds and two steals and Orbann chipped in with 11 points, four boards and three assists.

Suffolk sophomore Jenni-Rose Dicecco (Falmouth, Mass.) paced the Rams with a game-high 22 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block.

Game Review
Suffolk, which led by ten (24-14) after one quarter and seven (36-29) at halftime, held its largest advantage (46-33) following a pair of Dicecco free throws midway through the third quarter.

Western New England began to chip away at its deficit late in the period, as the Golden Bears pulled to within three (53-50) on a triple by senior captain Meghan Gilhool (Montrose, Pa.) at the 1:24 mark before tying the contest on a Stefanelli trey with 26 seconds on the clock.

The Golden Bears carried their momentum into the fourth quarter, as Stefanelli scored five straight points to open the frame and Gilhool sank 1-of-2 from the charity stripe with 5:50 remaining to increase Western New England's lead to six (59-53).

Suffolk ended its lengthy scoring drought on the ensuing possession, as sophomore Rachel LaSaracina (Colchester, Conn.) connected from long range, but the Rams would get no closer.

Stefanelli responded with a three-pointer for the Golden Bears to extend Western New England's lead back to six (62-56), and the junior scored a key basket with 1:26 remaining before Farrell sank two late free throws to seal the triumph.

Notes
• Western New England outscored Suffolk 24-17 in the third quarter and 37-22 in the second half.
• The Golden Bears limited the Rams to just five points on 2-of-10 shooting (20%) in the fourth quarter.
• Stefanelli's previous career-high of eight points came in Western New England's 83-57 win over Wentworth last January.

Up Next
Western New England (1-0) returns home to host Springfield College next Tuesday, while Suffolk (0-1) travels to Emerson on Monday.