MARCY, N.Y. – The Wells College women's basketball team wrapped up their fifth season as a varsity program with a 66-41 loss at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute (18-7, 16-2 NEAC) on Saturday. Despite their 14th loss of the season (9-14, 8-10 NEAC), the reigning conference champions from Aurora have qualified for the North Eastern Athletic Conference playoffs for the third-straight season.
Wells, Cazenovia College and Keuka College posted 8-10 records in NEAC play, tying for third place in the final NEAC North Division standings. Due to tiebreaker rules and regulations, Cazenovia earned the third seed due to their 3-1 record against Keuka and Wells. Keuka and Wells split their head-to-head matchups this past season, but Wells picked up a victory over Cazenovia in two meetings while Keuka was 0-2 on the year against the Wildcats.
Because of Wells' 73-68 victory over Cazenovia, Keuka is eliminated from the playoffs after the tiebreaker scenarios. Ultimately, Wells enters the playoffs as the fourth seed because of their decisive 93-76 victory over Penn College, the fourth seed in the NEAC South Division. Had Wells lost to Penn College, the Express would not have earned a postseason spot and the fourth seed from the South Division would have qualified.
The Chargers of Lancaster Bible College, the top seed in the NEAC South Division, will host Wells on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in a NEAC First Round matchup. The Final Four will be held on the campus of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute as they defeated the Chargers earlier in the year, locking up the ability to host the league's Final Four matchups.
Wells was led by senior Cassie Smythe (Eden, N.Y.) and her eight total points. Junior Holli Erkson (Cooperstown, N.Y.) struck for seven points while two Wells players scored six points. Freshman Kamarie Maturine (Brooklyn, N.Y.) hauled in 11 points in only 18 minutes of action while scoring six points.
In Saturday's regular season finale, Wells was unable to generate much offense against the Wildcats, shooting a season-worst 24.1% from the floor (14-for-58) despite impressive rebounding numbers (43) and a solid 10-for-14 from the free throw line.
Despite back-to-back field goals by senior Jessilyn Artaho-Aki (Kapa'a, Hawaii), Wells quickly relinquished their early 4-2 lead as the Wildcats posted a 12-0 run and never looked back. The Express would not cut the deficit to any less than seven. An 11-0 stretch by the Wildcats in the second half opened up a game-high 28 point lead for SUNY Poly.
Molly MacLachlan scored 16 points and tallied 11 rebounds for the Wildcats. Geena Gallo also scored 16 points and narrowly missed a double-double with nine boards. Erika Charbonneau scored nine points to round out the team's major scorers.