AURORA, N.Y. – Despite a halftime deficit, the Wells College women's basketball team came out on top of Sunday's North Eastern Athletic Conference tilt against Penn St.-Berks, taking the game 74-71. Wells moves to 4-10 overall on the year, improving to 3-6 within conference play. Penn St.-Berks, who played only six student-athletes in Sunday's game, narrowly missed securing their first overall victory of the year, but instead, the Nittany Lions fall to 0-13 (0-9 NEAC).
Freshman Kamarie Maturine (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had a dominant game for Wells off the bench, scoring a career-best 16 points while pulling in as many rebounds for her first collegiate double-double. Junior Holli Erkson (Cooperstown, N.Y.) tied for the team lead in point scoring, matching Maturine's 16 points, while senior Jessilyn Artaho-Aki (Kapa'a, Hawaii) and junior Lindsay Achzet (Johnstown, N.Y.) scored 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Express opened up an eight point lead in the first half as a Maturine layup with 6:05 left on the clock placed Wells ahead 23-15. Penn St.-Berks, trailing again by eight points with 5:02 remaining in the first half, scored the game's next eight points across 1:44 of play to knot the score at 25 aside. With the score tied at 28 with 2:04 left in the first half, the Nittany Lions saw Heather Gray bomb a three-point basket to capture a one point lead, 31-30.
An Achzet layup with 42 seconds left placed Wells ahead 32-31, but Mackenzie Huber and Shanelle Koch made field goals in the paint for the Nittany Lions down the stretch. Koch's layup came with time expiring on the first half clock, giving her team a 35-32 lead at halftime. In the stanza, the Nittany Lions shot 3-for-6 from beyond the arc and also converted at a 46.4% clip from the floor as opposed to Wells' 31.6% shooting performance from the field.
Penn St.-Berks would continue to punish the Express through the first 10 minutes of the second half, taking a game-high eight point lead with 11:52 left following a Koch layup. Wells, however, flipped the switch and scored eight-straight points in 1:38 of play to tie the score at 53 aside after a Cassie Smythe (Eden, N.Y.) trey.
The Nittany Lions would quickly reestablish a five point lead as Nicole Maslowski bombed a three-point basket that was followed by a Cassidy Schultz layup at 7:51. Erkson, however, would keep her team in the game with back-to-back three-point baskets down the stretch. A fastbreak layup for Erkson would tie the game for the sixth time with 5:54, but Penn St.-Berks would not let up on the offensive pressure and made two quick layups to once again capture the lead.
Penn St.-Berks' final lead would come with 3:31 left in the regulation time. Schultz made both layups following a foul, giving her team the 69-68 lead. The Nittany Lions, with minimal reserves, were held scoreless for the remainder as Maturine posted two layups in between an Aki jumper to create a 74-69 lead with under a minute left to play.
Koch laid the ball up and in with 47 seconds left and, on the ensuing inbounds play, turned the ball over. Huber missed a three-point attempt to tie the game but the shot missed to the right. Despite Koch hauling in the rebound, the Nittany Lions were unable to recreate a three-point attempt in the waning seconds.
Scoring a team-best 25 points, Koch led players from both teams in point scoring. Schultz registered 23 points and a team-best four steals. Maslowski accounted for 10 of her team's points. Cumulatively, Wells outrebounded the Nittany Lions 50-to-30 and limited Penn St.-Berks to only four offensive rebounds.
The Express honored their 2014 North Eastern Athletic Conference Champion women's basketball team with a pregame ceremony. Players from last year's team met at half court to pose for a picture.
Wells returns to action Wednesday, Jan. 28 as they face-off against Keuka at 6 p.m. on the road.