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Bethany Clinches PAC Tournament Berth with 68-58 Victory over Chatham
Feb. 6 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Junior Taylor Verrico (Monaca, Pa./Quigley) matched her career-high with 21 points, as the Bethany College women’s basketball team held off visiting Chatham for a 68-58 victory Wednesday night to clinch a berth in the PAC Tournament for the Bison.
After Bethany scored nine of the first 11 points in the game, the Cougars answered back with five straight. The Bison (7-15, 5-10) then used an offensive eruption from senior Carly Garneau (right - Beavercreek, Ohio/Carroll) to swell their cushion. Garneau scored 10 straight and 12 points overall in an 18-4 surge that gave BC a 27-11 lead. Chatham (3-19, 2-13) responded with eight in a row, but Bethany pushed their lead back to 40-27 at the break when senior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) hit a lay-up just before the halftime buzzer.
The Bison looked to be in total control early in the second half. Freshman Mikyla Tipton (Wellsville, Ohio) hit for seven points to ignite an 11-2 run to swell the Green and White cushion to 54-33. But Chatham would not go away quietly, slowly chipping away at the Bison lead and using a 9-0 push to move within nine points at 62-53 with 2:51 to play. With Bethany missing a three and then the front end of a one-and-one a couple minutes later, Chatham’s Marguerite Sargent converted a three-point play with 45 seconds left and Bethany’s lead was down to 65-58.
The Bison would finally put the game away at the foul line. Taormina sank one and Garneau hit a pair in the final 35 seconds to secure the win, the season sweep over Chatham, and the spot in the PAC Tournament. Although both teams shot under 39 percent in the game, the main difference in the game was BC’s 54-36 rebounding advantage that included 20 offensive boards.
Leading the Bethany offense was Verrico (right), who was 9-for-16 from the floor in scoring 21 points, which matched her previous high set Dec. 1st at Grove City. She just missed a double-double, as she grabbed nine rebounds. Garneau was a big scorer as well, dropping in 18 and adding eight boards and four steals and Taormina recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds while passing out four assists.
Junior Skylar Williams (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) had a strong game at the point as well with a career-high seven assists and four steals.
For the Cougars, Rachel McClain tallied 17 and Emily Schmidt amassed 13 points, nine boards and three blocks.
Bethany’s next game will be its final home contest of the season. The Bison will honor seniors Taormina, Garneau and Rebecca Braithwaite (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley) before hosting Saint Vincent in a 2 p.m. tip-off.