Down 16 points to a team that had not lost a conference game in more than a year, the Wells College women's basketball team's season appeared to be nearing its conclusion.
But the Express had other ideas.
Led by senior Ashley Roser's 21 total points and 13 rebounds, Wells overcame the big early deficit and went on to defeat Lancaster Bible College 67-60 in the North Eastern Athletic Conference tournament championship game on Sunday in Lancaster, Pa. The title is the first for Wells (20-7) in the women's basketball program's short history. It also marked the first loss for Lancaster Bible in conference play since Jan. 21, 2013.
“I thought that we started out really slow,” Wells Head Coach Mike O’Brien said. “We didn’t seem to have the fire and intensity that we need at the championship level. We made changes on defense that provided us that much needed spark.
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“[Lancaster Bible] is such a good program – they play with heart, hustle and determination. We knew that they would be around at the end. It was certainly our program’s greatest achievement to not only win but to come back against a strong program."
The Express clinched a spot in the NCAA Division III tournament. They learn who they will play on Monday at 2:30 p.m. Head to http://www.wells-express.com to see the live broadcast of the selection show.
In addition to the stellar play of Roser, this year's conference player of the year, Wells' standout performances on Sunday included junior Jessilyn Artaho-Aki's 15 points and senior Kristen Ryan's 12 points.
Lancaster Bible jumped out to a 20-4 lead with 12:35 left in the first half of the championship contest but Wells buried a series of three-point shots to bring the margin down. The Express trailed 36-31 at halftime and had its first lead of the game with 15:35 to play.