QUINCY, Mass.- Kyra Fleharty (Lewistown, Mont.) and Tia Torio (Manteca, Calif.) propelled the Eastern Nazarene College women's basketball team to a 70-57 win over Simmons Friday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center.
The Lions improve to 9-2 on the year with the victory while the Sharks sink to 3-8 overall.
Fleharty finished with a game-high 23 points to go with eight rebounds and six blocks. Torio poured in 20 points and gathered eight boards. Courtney Barba (Pismo Beach, Calif.) chipped in with eight points and five steals in the contest. Shannon Chau (San Francisco, Calif.) added six points and six rebounds off the bench.
The two teams combined for six lead-changes in the opening five minutes of the first quarter before the hosts scored seven unanswered points to grab a 12-6 edge with 3:28 left to play in the period.
Eastern Nazarene clung to a 14-11 lead at the conclusion of the first frame.
The Lions started the second stanza with 10 straight points to widen the gap to 24-11 with 6:58 to go in the first half.
The home side stretched its advantage to 14 points with 5:29 remaining in the quarter as Fleharty tossed in a put-back layup, 28-14.
Simmons cut the deficit to nine with 1:11 left to play in the frame on a lay-in by Cassandra Stapelfeld before Barba converted one of two shots from the charity stripe to give Eastern Nazarene a 34-24 halftime lead.
The Lions shot 40% from the floor in the opening two quarters of action while connecting on 2-of-7 from behind the arc. The Sharks sported a field-goal percentage of 30.3% at intermission and sank 1-of-6 three-point attempts.
A layup by Torio with 4:06 remaining in the third quarter capped off a 7-0 run to push the home team's lead to 49-31.
The visitors chalked up the final six points of the third to narrow the margin to 53-40 heading into the fourth period.
Eastern Nazarene controlled a double-digit advantage throughout the fourth frame to secure its ninth win of the season and first victory over Simmons since the 2001-02 campaign.
The Lions posted a field-goal percentage of 39.3% on the night while draining 5-of-15 three-point attempts. The Sharks shot 31.1% from the floor in the game and 26.7% from beyond the arc.
Stapelfeld led Simmons with 19 points while Francesca Corsinetti and Rebekah Carroll each tallied eight points.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene resumes league play January 8 at home against defending NECC champion Becker.