BETHANY JUMPS BACK INTO PAC SLATE WEDNESDAY AT W&J
Jan. 3 - BETHANY. W.Va. – Following a successful pre-holiday stretch, the Bethany College women’s basketball team will jump back into PAC action Wednesday night with a road game at Washington & Jefferson. Tip-off at the Henry Memorial Center is scheduled for 6 p.m.
The Bison (7-4, 3-1) recorded three straight wins right before Christmas, including a pair of victories at the Bahamas Sunshine Shootout. After edging Milwaukee School of Engineering 63-61 on Dec. 19, BC pulled away from Immaculata (Pa.) University the next day for a 76-54 triumph. The Bison limited Immaculata to 28 percent shooting from the floor, including 0-for-7 from the arc, as the Green and White improved to 4-0 all-time in the Bahamas after the program also won a pair of games during the 2003-04 season. That same year was the last time BC started a campaign 7-4 and they went on to win the conference championship.
The BC attack featured four in double digits, led by senior Anne Wilson (Saegertown, Pa./Cambridge Springs) with 15. Junior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) totaled 13 points, senior Renee Shepherd (New Martinsville, W.Va./Magnolia) posted a dozen points and nine rebounds to earn All-Tournament Team accolades and junior Carly Garneau (Beavercreek, Ohio/Carroll) came off the bench to score 10.
Bethany’s offense is a big reason for the program’s best start in eight years. They are ranked fourth in the conference with 66.7 points per game and are averaging 70.3 points during their current 7-1 stretch. Making that more impressive is the Bison have surpassed 70 or more points in five games already this year, which equals their total from the previous two years combined.
The Bison will be looking for a second straight win over the Presidents. In last year’s regular season finale, BC claimed a 65-58 win in Washington to snap a six-game losing streak to W&J, who leads the all-time series 47-32. In the win last season, Taormina totaled 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists and Wilson notched 11 markers, six boards and three steals.
The Presidents (6-5, 1-3) are also riding a three-game winning streak and were down in the Bahamas at the same time as the Bison. W&J also earned an easy win over Immaculata by a 73-51 score and completed the trip with a 65-34 thrashing over Goucher. Senior Ashley Kirkpatrick was named the Tournament’s MVP after averaging 16 points and eight boards, including 18 markers and nine rebounds in the Goucher win. The presidents posted an impressive 51-28 advantage on the glass.
In its most recent outing, W&J sent out 2011 on a high note with a 63-60 win at LaRoche on New Year’s Eve. After racing out to a 41-29 halftime lead, the Presidents lost their lead in the second half, but rallied back to nip the Redhawks. Forward Courtney Walsh led the scoring with 14 points, while point guard Vanessa Rivera had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Kirkpatrick came off the bench to fire in 10 and grab nine boards.
The Presidents can be a stingy defensive team, as they rank second in three-point defense (27.7) and third in overall field goal defense (35.3) and turnovers forced (20.8). The offense, which is scoring 63.9 points per game, is led by Kirkpatrick with 13.6 markers a contest and she is third in the league with 8.0 rebounds a game. Rivera engineers the attack, as she is second in the PAC with 5.36 assists per game and her 2.03 assist-to-turnover ratio is the best in the conference.