MORRISTOWN, N.J. – Saint Elizabeth sophomore center Naquell Simmons had a team high 11 points to go along with 10 rebounds for her first career double-double but the visiting Violets of NYU spoiled CSE’s home opener, winning 78-52 Thursday night at St. Joseph’s Hall.
Simmons shot 6-of-9 from the floor and also added a game-high four blocks. The Screaming Eagles (0-2) saw freshman Amerisse Rogers also hit double figures with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting. CSE senior Kelly O’Dell led all players with 11 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass.
The Violets (4-1) from the highly touted University Athletic Association were hot early, jumping out to an 11-0 lead in the first four minutes.
CSE got on the board with a pair of free throws by O’Dell with 15:22 left. Both teams employed a run-and-gun transition and attacked the glass, making for an exciting atmosphere.
Near the eight-minute mark, Simmons made a layup off a pass from freshman Chantele Clark to get CSE within 22-14. Clark had kept the CSE possession alive with an offensive rebound, one of the 22 the Screaming Eagles would hustle for on the night.
But NYU turned heel in a blink and forward Megan Dawe beat all the players up the court for a layup, two of her 11 points on the night.
The Violets maintained an edge throughout the first 20 minutes and led 40-25 at halftime after hitting 45.7 percent of their shots. Guard Riley Wurtz led with eight points while Rogers led CSE with seven points.
NYU continued to find traction with its running game in the second stanza, turning 17 steals into 32 points. The traditional defensive effort was still apparent from CSE – they held NYU to just 33 percent from the field in the second half, yet could not get close to the Violets.
Forward Rachel Crittenden led NYU with 19 points off the bench.
Saint Elizabeth (0-2) is back home again this weekend when they host a non-conference game at St. Joseph’s Hall. The Screaming Eagles will welcome Cedar Crest on Saturday at 1 p.m.