BETHANY CAN CLINCH PAC HOME GAME WITH WIN WEDNESDAY
Feb. 14 - BETHANY, W.Va. – With a victory Wednesday night against Westminster, the Bethany College women’s basketball team can not only send their five seniors out with a victory on Senior Night, but can also clinch the #4 seed and a home game in the PAC Tournament next week. Wednesday’s tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.
The Bison (14-9, 10-6) survived a hard-fought battle at Thiel and emerged from Greenville with a 91-87 overtime triumph. After trailing by eight with six minutes to play, BC rallied to force OT and outscored the Tomcats 14-10 in the extra period. Senior Anne Wilson (Saegertown, Pa./Cambridge Springs) hit for a career-high 23, which included her 1,000th career point. Junior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) also scored 23 and senior center Katelynn Hackathorn (Valley Grove, W.Va./Wheeling Park) amassed 19 points, 14 rebounds and a career-high five assists.
Bethany has five seniors who will be playing in their final regular season home game Wednesday and the next win will be the 50th of their careers. Wilson has played in all 102 games in her tenure and became the 15th women’s player in Bethany history to reach 1,000 career points. Hackathorn has appeared in 92 career games and has 699 points and 495 rebounds in her time. Also reaching a small milestone is Audra Droginske (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central), who has played in 91 contests and has scored 597 career points to go with 211 assists.
Rounding out the senior class is Renee Shepherd (New Martinsville, W.Va./Magnolia) and Kelly Zogran (Pittsburgh, Pa./Thomas Jefferson). Shepherd was hampered with injuries in the early stages of her career, but she’s been healthy the last two seasons and has 627 points and 473 rebounds. Zogran transferred to BC prior to her junior season from Penn State-Greater Allegheny and provided a scoring spark off the bench with 194 points and 38 three-pointers in 48 games.
Two of those seniors lifted Bethany to a big win earlier this year at Westminster. Wilson notched nine of her 15 points after halftime and Shepherd turned in 10 points, three blocks and two steals in the Green and White’s 65-62 win over the Titans Jan. 14th. Westminster, who was led by Katie Hughes with 18 points and 11 boards, shot 86 percent (25-29) from the foul line and held a 53-37 rebounding advantage, but made only 30 percent of its attempts from the field, including 1-for-12 from the arc.
This game carries major significance for the Titans as well, as they are the only team that can catch Bethany for the fourth position. Westminster needs wins against the Bison and Saturday at Geneva, while hoping BC falls at Saint Vincent Saturday for the Titans to move up and earn the home game in next week’s Tournament. Regardless of the outcome, there is a good chance Bethany and Westminster will be playing each other again in an opening round match-up next Tuesday.
The Titans (8-14, 8-8) have been playing well since that loss to the Bison in mid-January, going 5-3 in their last eight contests. Westminster kept pace with Bethany by wearing down Chatham for a 56-40 victory Saturday afternoon. After leading by just three at halftime, Westminster held the Cougars to only 17 second-half points in pulling away for the decision. Sparking the offense was Courtney Zitt, who returned after missing three games because of injury to post 12 points and four blocked shots. Hughes was solid again with 11 markers and Emily Montone hauled down 10 rebounds.
Although Westminster is not an explosive team offensively, as they rank seventh in the league with 55.0 points per game, they are strong fundamentally. The Titans rank third in the conference in rebounding margin (+5.6), offensive rebounds (14.18) and free throw percentage (68.7) and fourth in scoring defense (59.5) and field goal percentage defense (36.8).
Despite missing three games, Zitt is still atop the team’s balanced scoring charts with 10.6 points per game and is also bringing down 5.9 caroms a contest. Others to watch are Hughes, who is totaling 8.7 points and 6.0 boards a contest, Gabby Holko has a team-best 31 triples and is scoring 7.2 points and Emily Dolsak is posting 7.2 points and a team-leading 7.0 rebounds a game.