By: Colby Roach
KINGSPORT, Tenn.— Bryan College women’s basketball defeated Tennessee Wesleyan College 72-47 to win the 2017 Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Women’s Basketball Tournament on Saturday.
The Lady Lions became the first women’s team to win four games in four days to secure the AAC tournament title.
“I am so proud of these girls for never giving up. We started slow this year but never stopped working,” said head coach Jason Smith.
Bryan dominated after shooting 44.6 percent from the field compared to Tennessee Wesleyan’s 29 percent.
The Lady Lions took the lead after jumping to a 9-2 lead early in the first quarter. Tennessee Wesleyan countered late in the first and took their only lead of the game at 18-16.
Bryan took the lead at the end of the first 20-18 and would not trail the remainder of the game.
The Lady Bulldogs tied the score three times during the second quarter, the last being with 7:51 to go after a basket from Hunter Simpson to tie the game at 25-25.
Simpson finished the game with 17 points and seven rebounds.
Bryan finished the second quarter with a 16-4 run to give them the lead 41-29 at halftime.
The Lady Lions outscored Tennessee Wesleyan 14-11 in the third quarter.
Bryan’s scoring was led by seniors Erisha Talley, Megan Billingsby and freshman Tristan McClellan, who had 16 points each.
Other notables, senior Brandi Whitted added 12 points to go with Talley, Billingsby and McClellan’s 16 in route to the title.
The Lady Lions added 17 more points in the fourth to give them the 72-47 victory.
“Our seniors really stepped up leading us late in the season. Megan and Erisha were special in the tournament and Tristan really controlled the tempo. ‘One more day’ was our mantra and these ladies delivered,” said Smith.
Making the All-Tournament Team was Sarah Robinson (Milligan College), Jaleya Mosley (Reinhardt University), Hunter Simpson, Gina Dick (Tennessee Wesleyan), Erisha Talley, Amber Levi and Megan Billingsby (Bryan College).
Bryan receives an automatic bid to the NAIA Division II National Championship Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa on March 8-14. The bracket will be announced Wednesday, March 1.
Colby Roach is a Communications: Journalism Option major. Colby is the sports editor for the Bryan Triangle. He has also completed an internship with the Chattanooga Times Free Press. You will find Colby at most local area sporting events or can follow him on Twitter @RoachCoach12.