ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Senior Jessilyn Artaho-Aki (Kapa'a, Hawaii) led her team with 10 points as the Wells College women's basketball team posted an 89-45 loss to the Warriors of Wisconsin Lutheran College Friday afternoon in the first game of the St. Pete Classic, held on the campus of Eckerd College. Following the loss, Wells drops to 2-4 while the Warriors improve to 5-3 overall on the year. The trip to Florida by the Express is the program's first in their five-year team history.
Artaho-Aki scored 10 of her team's 45 points on the afternoon and also led her team with three steals. Junior Holli Erkson (Cooperstown, N.Y.) scored eight points for Wells while freshman Kamarie Maturine (Brooklyn, N.Y.) also scored eight points while adding a team-leading seven rebounds. The Express were nearly perfect from the foul line, shooting 10-for-11 as a team (90.9%).
In the first half alone, the Warriors shot a blistering 57.7% from the floor while also pouring home half of their three-point attempts (7-for-14, 50%). Wells found success from beyond the arc as Smythe, Artaho-Aki and junior Jasmine Thomas (Las Vegas, Nev.) each converted from distance, but nine fouls sent Wisconsin Lutheran to the line 17 times to negate the outside advantage.
A "three" by Smythe with 11:43 left in the first half cut the Wisconsin Lutheran lead to 14-13, but the Express allowed eight-straight points to the Warriors to give them the advantage in the half's final few minutes. Wisconsin Lutheran ultimately carried a 48-23 lead into the half, outscoring Wells by a 14-to-0 margin in the final 3:38 of the stanza.
The Warriors opened the second half with eight-straight points, extending their dominant run to 22-straight points. On the afternoon, Wisconsin Lutheran had four of their starters with double-digit point totals while Kristen Schulz used her height near the rim to score 12 points and pull down a team-best 11 rebounds. Collectively, the Warriors finished with a 53.2% field goal percentage and converted 11-of-26 shots from distance (42.3%).
The Express conclude the St. Pete Classic on Saturday, Dec. 20 as they face-off against the Lady Reds of Carthage College at 8 p.m. on the campus of Eckerd College.