AURORA, N.Y. – Paced by a program record 85 team points, the Wells College women's basketball team posted an 85-76 victory over the Nittany Lions of Penn St.-Harrisburg Saturday afternoon at the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Athletic Wing. With the victory, the Express move to 4-8 overall on the season and to 3-1 within North Eastern Athletic Conference play. Penn St.-Harrisburg, the reigning NEAC Regular Season South Division champions, draw their first conference loss of the season (4-1) while falling to 8-4 cumulatively on the year.
Within conference play, the Express are off to their best start in program history with three conference victories within their first four conference games. This afternoon, the Express also set a record by scoring 85 team points, snapping the previous record of 83 set against Penn St.-Berks on Jan. 4 of this year. The Express also never trailed in this afternoon's contest, the first time they have accomplished that feat since Feb. 12 of this season against Cobleskill St.
Junior Brittany White (Lewiston, N.Y.) scored the game's first two points via a layup with only 15 seconds expired, but a jumper by Miranda Zeanchock tied the score at two with 18:39 remaining in the first half. The Express did not look back from this point, opening up an 11-2 lead with 16:43 remaining in the opening stanza. At its largest, the Express lead reached 18 points with 7:44 remaining in the first half as junior Ashley Roser (Taberg, N.Y.) buried both of her free throw opportunities following a Stephanie Yetter foul.
In the first half, three different players totaled nine points for the Express, including freshman Holli Erkson (Cooperstown, N.Y.), Roser and freshman Jessilyn Artaho-Aki (Kapaa, Hawaii). Erkson's two three point baskets led the team in the first half, while Artaho-Aki poured in four successful field goal opportunities. Roser barely missed tallying a double-double in the first half, chipping in with nine rebounds in addition to her nine total points.
The Nittany Lions would not go down without a fight, however, with Mercedes Copeland burying five points via a three pointer and two successful free throw conversions near the midpoint of the stanza. Her late game heroics cut the deficit to three, with the Express holding onto a slim 59-56 lead with 9:48 remaining in regulation time. However, freshman Lindsay Achzet (Johnstown, N.Y.) scored the game's next four points with two layups to regain a comfortable lead of which they would not relinquish.
Cumulatively on the afternoon, Roser collected her 10th double-double of the season and her 47th career double-double in 56 career games. Her 23 points led the team, as did her 17 total rebounds. Artaho-Aki's 17 points are the most she has scored in a game dating back to Feb. 9 of this year against Wilson (20 pts). Erkson scored 15 points in tonight's game – she has scored double-digit point totals in five of her last seven games.
Copeland's 27 points are the highest by a Wells College opponent dating back to Feb. 4 of this year – Sabrina Jarmolinski of the College of Saint Elizabeth poured in 33 points against the Express. Miranda Zeanchock ranked second on the team with six field goals and seven free throws for 19 points. Zeanchock also posted seven steals for the Nittany Lions.
The Express return to action Sunday, Jan. 13 as they host the Bison of Gallaudet University in a 12:00 p.m. tilt at the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Athletic Wing. Stay up to date with the latest news directly from the Wells College athletic department by "liking" us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/WellsExpress) and subscribing to our Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/WellsExpress).