Nov. 16 - WILMINGTON, Ohio – The Bethany College women’s basketball trailed Wilmington by just four at halftime, but the Bison scored only 20 points in the second half and the Quakers pulled away for a 59-42 victory Friday in the first round of the season opening Wilmington Tip-Off Tournament.
With the loss, Bethany drops into Saturday’s consolation game, where it will take on Denison (Ohio) University at 1 p.m. The Big Red lost Friday’s other first round contest to #12 Hope, who will play Wilmington in the title game at 3 p.m.
BC senior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) knocked down a three-pointer to open the scoring in the game. That bucket started a 12-5 spurt to open the contest from the Bison, as Taormina (right) hit a lay-up to give Bethany its biggest lead of the game at 12-5 at seven points midway through the opening half.
The Quakers answered back with seven straight points, and eventually took the lead late in the period. A 10-5 run by the home team through the final four minutes pushed them to a 26-22 lead over the Bison. Neither side shot well in the opening half, with BC hitting 31 percent of their shots and Wilmington making 30.3 percent from the floor.
The second half opened with the teams exchanging four points apiece, but Wilmington took control by scoring 14 of the next 17 points. The Bison slowed the momentum for a short time on a jumper from freshman Carolena Gasbarro (Hickory, Pa./Fort Cherry) and two Taormina free throws to get as close as 47-33, but the Quakers went off for eight points in a row to take their margin to 55-33 and the home team went on to advance into Saturday’s championship game.
Bethany did shoot better in the second half, making 44 percent (7-16), but it committed 13 of its 24 turnovers after halftime. Taormina finished with a team-leading 12 points, with 10 of those in the opening half, and she added three steals. Senior Carly Garneau (Beaver Creek, Ohio/Carroll) was one of four Bison with five points and she also grabbed five boards, earning team-high honors with junior Taylor Verrico (Monaca, Pa./Quigley).
Pacing Wilmington in its victory was Bria Eslick with 13 points and 10 rebounds and Spencer Robles, who came off the bench to drop in a dozen.