MADISON, N.J. – Despite a team-leading 14 points by senior Ashley Roser (Taberg, N.Y.), the Wells College women's basketball team posted a 106-45 loss in the First Round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament to the No. 5-ranked Devils from Fairleigh Dickinson University at Florham.
Wells concludes their fourth season as a modern-era varsity program with a 19-9 overall record following the loss to FDU-Florham. The Express have lost for only the second time in their last 13 games and had recorded a program-record nine game winning streak from Saturday, Jan. 25 against Cazenovia to Saturday, Feb. 22 against Keuka.
The No. 5-ranked Devils remain one of only three NCAA Division III teams in the nation without a loss, improving to 28-0 on the season as they take on Messiah College in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
The 2013-14 women's basketball team at Wells has concluded of the most successful athletic seasons in school history. Only the second program across all of Wells' 15 NCAA Division III varsity sports to reach the NCAA Tournament level, the Express set single season records in virtually every offensive and defensive category, including points scored (1,849), scoring average (66.0), rebounds (1,381), rebounding average (49.3), assists (394) and blocks (157).
The women's basketball program became the seventh team at Wells College to earn a North Eastern Athletic Conference championship on Saturday, Mar. 2, posting a come-from-behind 67-60 victory over the reigning league champions from Lancaster Bible College. To make it to the championship tilt, the Express knocked off the Bison of Gallaudet University on the Friday prior by a 54-51 margin in the league semifinals.
Wells, who entered the NEAC postseason as the top-seeded team out of the North Division, defeated the Storm of Keuka College by a 76-68 margin on Saturday, Feb. 22 in a head-to-head regular season battle for the league's top divisional honor. The win by Wells marked the first over the Storm in team history, snapping an 11-game winless streak since the teams' first meeting on Mar. 4, 1976.
Roser led all Express players with 14 points, shooting 6-for-10 from the floor. Sophomore Lindsay Achzet (Johnstown, N.Y.) ranked second on the squad, pouring home seven points for Wells. Roser posted a team-leading seven rebounds for the Express.
The Express briefly captured an 8-7 lead following a layup by junior Kaitlynne Knapp (Port Byron, N.Y.) with 2:29 expired in the contest. The host Devils, however, quickly countered with a Shalette Brown layup only four seconds later. From that point, FDU-Florham jumped out with eight-straight points to take a 17-8 lead following a Kyra Dayon three-point basket with 15:16 left in the stanza.
The Devils secured a commanding 50-22 halftime lead after shooting 19-for-33 in the opening 20 minutes, a 57.6% shooting percentage. Their largest lead, a 28 point lead into the half, came courtesy of a Jalessa Lewis jumper with 36 ticks left on the scoreboard. Brown led all Devils in first half point scoring, shooting 5-for-5 from the floor to rack up 12 points to lead both teams in scoring.
FDU-Florham built an even bigger lead in the second half, only removing the full court pressure once reaching the century mark in scoring. The Devils bombed seven three-point field goals in the final 20 minutes alone while also shooting 84.6% from the charity stripe in the game's final half. Five different Devils reached double-digit scoring, including a team-leading 19 off of the bench from Leigh-Ann Lively. Kara Dayon also converted four three-point baskets, tallying 17 points for FDU-Florham.
This evening's game marked the final collegiate contests for Wells' four graduating senior student-athletes, including Roser, Theresa Hernandez (Dewitt, N.Y.), Kristen Ryan (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Brittany White (Lewiston, N.Y.).