ABINGTON, Pa. – Despite trailing by 14 points late in the first half, the Wells College women's basketball rallied in the game's waning minutes but ultimately posted a 55-50 loss to Penn St.-Abington Sunday afternoon on the road. With the loss, the Express drop to 2-9 overall (1-5 NEAC) while the host Nittany Lions remain undefeated in NEAC play (10-1, 7-0).
Senior Cassie Smythe (Eden, N.Y.) led her team with 15 total points, bombing four three-point baskets while making three-of-four shots from the foul line. Sophomore Anita Babb (Auburn, N.Y.) tied a career-high with eight points scored to rank second on the team while senior Kaitlynne Knapp (Port Byron, N.Y.) scored seven points and registered a team-best three steals.
A layup by Abington's Jessica Schmidt with 3:40 left in the first half granted the hosts a team-high 14 point lead, but the Express quickly rallied. Smythe and freshman Yanna Ososkalo (Lyme, N.Y.) hit back-to-back three's to cut the lead to 27-21 with 34 seconds left in the first half. Smythe made one free throw with 11 seconds left in the opening frame, reducing the Nittany Lions halftime lead to 27-22.
Abington recreated a 10 point lead, 43-33, with only 7:30 left in regulation time following a Maria Farrell jumper. Over the game's next 3:26, however, Wells posted a dramatic 12-3 run that was capped by a Babb layup, cutting the Abington lead to 46-45 with 3:41 left in the second half. Janaiah Elum, however, stepped up large for her team and converted back-to-back free throws and added a layup to reestablish a five point lead.
Wells had an excellent opportunity to take control of the game within the final 1:26 of the game following a missed layup by Abington. A costly turnover by Wells with 62 seconds left in regulation time hurt the Express as Abington carried the ball up the floor and poured home a three-point basket to create a six point lead.
The Express made things interesting following a Smythe trey, shrinking the score to 54-50 with eight seconds left on the clock, but the visitors ran out of time in their quest for a comeback.
One of the best three-point shooting teams in the nation, Penn St.-Abington converted 8-of-16 shots from beyond the arc despite Wells outshooting the hosts overall by a slim 38.8%-to-38.6% margin. Stephanie Keyes scored 18 points while Kyra Lunsford tallied 16. Elum assisted a game-high six baskets for her team.
Wells returns to action Thursday, Jan. 22 as they host the Phoenix of Wilson College at 5 p.m. in the Farenthold Athletic Wing.