GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – The Wells College women's basketball team was voted to finish ninth overall in the North Eastern Athletic Conference according to the conference's first-ever Preseason Poll, the league announced Thursday. The Express earned 85 total points following the poll of the conference's coaches, earning a ninth-place ranking out of 14 NEAC women's basketball programs.
Wells wrapped up its fifth varsity season in 2014-15 with a 9-15 overall record, but qualified for the NEAC postseason for the third-straight year under Head Coach Mike O'Brien. The team overcame a sluggish start to qualify for a first round matchup with Lancaster Bible College.
Overall, last year's team set single-season team records for three-point baskets made (110), three-point field goal percentage (.324), free throw percentage (.700) and steals (262). The team graduated only three players last year and returns its lone NEAC All-Conference selection, senior Holli Erkson (Cooperstown, N.Y.).
Only the second player in team history to earn an All-Conference spot, Erkson led her team in point scoring per game (14.0), total points scored (336), steals (58), field goals made (121), minutes played (797) and minutes played per game (33.2). Her 48 three-point field goals not only led the team, but were also the most made in a single-season in Wells history.
With eight freshmen and one junior transfer, this year's Express team boasts the largest incoming crop of new talent in team history. With three starting spots vacated with the graduations of Cassie Smythe '15, Kaitlynne Knapp '15 and Jessilyn Artaho-Aki '15, the team has the ability to fill those openings with an influx of new talent.
Wells men's and women's basketball teams currently have the second-longest active postseason streak within NEAC play. Dating back to the 2008-09 season, at least one Wells basketball team has made the playoffs, the second-longest current streak in conference play. Keuka College, a founding member of the NEAC, has made the postseason with at least one team each year since 2004-05.
Lancaster Bible College earned 10 first-place votes, finishing first overall with 163 total points. The SUNY Polytechnic Institute was voted second, capturing two first-place selections and 150 total points. Penn St.-Abington finished third with 122 points, earning a first-place vote, while Bryn Athyn College finished 10th and was voted to finish first by a single coach.
Wells opens its sixth NCAA Division III season of play this Friday, Nov. 13 as they travel to take on the Saxons from Alfred University at 7 p.m.
2015 NEAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll Full Results
|Rank||Institution (First-Place Votes)||Total Points|
|1||Lancaster Bible College (10)||163|
|2||SUNY Polytechnic Institute (2)
|3||Penn State Abington (1)
|4||Morrisville State College||115|
|7||College of Saint Elizabeth||99|
|10||Bryn Athyn College (1)||78|
|12||Penn State Berks||36|