Vassar Brewers Fall to Smith in Season Opener

By Amie Canfield

NORTHAMPTON, MA – Powered by double-figure efforts from five players, Smith College women’s basketball posted an 80-55 victory over Vassar College in the 2021 Tyler Tip-Off at Ainsworth Gym. With the win, the Pioneers move to 2-0 on the season, while the Brewers open their season with an 0-1 mark.

Leading the way for the Pioneers was Jessie Ruffner, who dropped in 17 points, while adding nine rebounds, two assists and a steal. Katelyn Pickunka added 15 points on 7-9 shooting from the floor and nine boards, while Jane Loo had 12 points and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the line. Dashelle Gleissner added 11 points and Elle Jo Whalen rounded out the efforts with 10 points.

For the Brewers, senior Dani Douglas recorded 15 points, adding five rebounds and an assist. Classmate Sarah Gillooly posted eight points, dropping in five assists and a steal, while rookies Tash Thompson and Tova Gelb each added seven points. Junior Ashley Hansen had six points, while rookie Julie Harvey also had six with an assist.

First quarter action was tight and the Brewers grabbed an 8-7 advantage at the 7:05 mark on a three-pointer from Harvey. The Pioneers retaliated with a three of their own as Pickunka laid one in to grab back the advantage, but another back-and-forth as Douglas dropped in another shot from outside the arc for a 16-14 lead at 4:49.

Smith tied it up and went on to bury five points to head into the second quarter with a 21-16 lead that expanded to nine at the 8:45 mark as Pickuka sent in a layup. A Thompson three and a layup inside from junior Emily Tincher helped close the gap to 25-21 with 7:53 remaining.

A layup from Gillooly and an ensuing layup at the 2:23 mark by Gelb pulled the Brewers even at 30-all, but a 7-3 run by Smith – which included four points from Pickunka sent the home team into halftime with the 37-33 advantage.

Out of the break, Smith came out firing in the third quarter, going on a 14-0 run to start the frame for a 51-33 lead. A pair of free throws from Hansen helped stop the run, but the Pioneers continued to hold the double-figure lead despite another pair of makes at the line and a Gillooly three.

Fourth quarter action saw junior Eliza Srinivasan drop in a layup at the 8:03 mark, while Thompson poured in a shot from beyond the arc. The Pioneers offense proved too much for the Brewers as Smith took advantage late at the free throw line to seal the victory.

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