KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Sixth-seeded Bryan College completed an amazing run with a 72-47 win over No. 5 seed Tennessee Welseyan University to win the 2017 Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Women's Basketball Tournament on Saturday.
Bryan becomes the first women's team in conference history to win four games in four days to win the tournament title. One men's team has accomplished this feat - the 2005 Tennessee Wesleyan squad.
The Lady Lions (18-14 overall) had a balanced scoring attack and dominated the glass, outrebounding the Lady Bulldogs (18-14 overall) 49-34. A trio led Bryan in scoring with Erisha Talley, Megan Billingsby, and Tristan McClellan each scoring 16 points apiece. Talley also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds for a double-double.
For the most part, Bryan was in control from the outset. The Lady Lions jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first, but the Lady Bulldogs rallied and took an 18-16 late in the frame. Bryan, though scored the final four points of the first to take a 20-18 lead.
Bryan would not trail again.
Tennessee Wesleyan tied the score three times in the second; the last time coming at the 7:51 mark when Hunter Simpson scored in the paint to make it 25-all. But Bryan closed the half on a 16-4 run to take a 41-29 halftime lead.
In the second half, Tennessee Wesleyan could not make up any ground. Bryan led 55-40 after three and outscored Tennessee Wesleyan 17-7 in the fourth to lock up the 72-47 victory and the tournament championship.
Brandi Whitted scored 12 points for Bryan, which finish the game shooting 44.6 percent (29-of-63 shots) from the field.
Simpson paced Tennessee Wesleyan with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Gina Dick chipped in 10 points.
Making the All-Tournament Team are: Sarah Robinson (Milligan College), Jaleya Mosley (Reinhardt University), Simpson, Dick, Talley, Amber Levi, and Billingsby, who was also named the Tournament MVP.
With the tournament crown, Bryan receives an automatic berth to the NAIA Division II National Championship Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, joining Milligan, which earned a berth for winning the regular-season championship. The bracket will be announced Wednesday, March 1. The national tournament takes place March 8-14.