Nov. 30 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team will begin Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) play Wednesday night when they host Westminster at Hummel Field House in a 6 p.m. tip-off.
The Bison are off to a 2-3 start so far this season, but built some momentum for Wednesday’s contest by scoring a 62-54 triumph at Franciscan Monday night. Bethany opened the second half with a 17-0 surge to take a 20-point lead and held off a late Baron comeback for the victory. Junior Renee Shepherd (New Martinsville, W.Va./Magnolia) registered her third career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds and junior Audra Droginske (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) cashed in four three-pointers to total 12 points.
Ranked second in the PAC in scoring with 70.2 points per game, BC relies on a balanced attack for their points. Seven different players are averaging 6.8 or more per game, led by junior guard Anne Wilson (Saegertown, Pa./Cambridge Springs), who is putting in 11.0 markers a contest. Shepherd, who missed the final 12 games of last season because of injury, is right behind with 9.6 points per game and is shooting 91 percent (10-11) from the free throw line.
The Bison balance also extends to their three-point shooting, which is a big reason Bethany is putting up a lot of points this season. Through five games, BC is leading the league with 7.6 treys per contest, but it isn’t just one player doing the damage from deep. Wilson, Droginske and junior Kelly Zogran (Pittsburgh, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) have all hit seven apiece, but a total of 11 Bison have made at least one triple this year.
Bethany will be trying to start off 1-0 in the PAC for the first time since the 2006-07 season when they defeated Thiel 76-75. Last year, BC’s conference opener was spoiled with a 53-52 setback at Westminster, as Andi Ridge hit a free throw with one second to play to give the Titans the victory. Bethany’s Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) had 18 points and eight rebounds in that game and averaged 17.5 points in the two meetings with Westminster, who went to sweep the season series from BC last year and now trail the all-time series with the Bison by a slim 13-12 margin.
This year’s Westminster team also brings a 2-3 record into Wednesday, but they have dropped two in a row. The last two defeats have come by a combined four points, including a 67-64 overtime loss to Hiram Saturday. The teams shot a combined 28.6 percent from the floor, which led to Westminster posting a 77-47 advantage on the glass, including 36 offensive rebounds. Ridge had a monster double-double with 13 points and 16 boards and Hannah Shaffer fired in 15 markers.
The Titans also boast a balanced offensive attack, with four scorers averaging between 7.8 and 11.2 markers a contest. Leading the way is Emily Dolsak with 11.2 points and she is also grabbing 7.0 rebounds per game. Ridge is scoring 8.0 and is tied for fourth in the PAC with teammate Katie Hughes in rebounding with 8.6 per game. Triggering the offense is point guard Kaitlin McCarthy, who in addition to scoring 7.8 points per game is second in the league with 4.6 assists a contest.