Feb. 16 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team will play their final regular season road game Wednesday night when they travel to Chatham University for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
The Bison (7-16, 4-8) will be trying to right the ship after consecutive losses against two of the top teams in the PAC. After battling to a 56-45 setback Saturday at #14 Thomas More, BC dropped a 68-57 decision Monday night at home against Saint Vincent (18-5). Bethany scored the game’s first 10 points, but the Bearcats clawed back by forcing 24 Bison turnovers that were converted into 26 points. Freshman Taylor Kress (Sharpsville, Pa.) had a career-high 16 points and 11 rebounds and sophomore Katelynn Hackathorn (Valley Grove, W.Va./Wheeling Park) also recorded a double-double with 15 markers and 11 boards.
The double-doubles turned in by Kress and Hackathorn were the fourth for both this season and the second in the last three games for Hackathorn. It’s also the first time two Bison players have registered double-doubles in the same game since Courtney Irwin (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Mandi Swiger (18 points, 14 rebounds) accomplished it in an overtime loss at Waynesburg Jan. 17, 2007.
Wednesday’s game carries a lot of importance for seeding in next week’s PAC Tournament. If the Bison defeat Chatham and Waynesburg loses at Washington & Jefferson Wednesday, Bethany would be the #5 seed for the tournament and open the quarterfinals at #4 Westminster Tuesday night. If Chatham knocks off BC, then the Green and White could fall as low as the #7 seed, pending outcomes of their game Saturday against W&J and Chatham’s tilt with Thiel.
Chatham could possibly leapfrog the Bison in the standings because a win Wednesday would give them a season sweep over Bethany. Their first meeting at Hummel Field House on Jan. 16 featured 11 ties and nine lead changes. A 10-0 Cougar run midway through the second half broke open a tie game and Chatham went on to a 57-51 triumph over BC. Kayla Hilko fired in a game-high 19 for the Cougars, who went 18-for-24 from the foul line in the win, while Bethany, who held a 38-22 rebounding advantage, was paced by a career-high tying 13 points from sophomore Audra Droginske (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central).
The Cougars (8-15, 2-10) were sitting at 7-7 following that win, but have lost eight of their last nine games. On Saturday, Chatham shot a frigid 16 percent (5-31) in the first half to fall behind by 12 and couldn’t recover in losing 54-44 at W&J. Hilko totaled 16 points and four steals and Barb Petty chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds, but the rest of the team made just seven field goals and scored 18 points.
Defense has been a strong suit for the Cougars this year, as they rank third in the PAC in points allowed at 58.2. Scoring has been an issue at times for Chatham however, as while they are averaging 58.5 points per game, they have been held to less than 55 in eight contests. Hilko leads the team in scoring (11.0) and rebounding (5.5) and is also a 76 percent free throw shooter. Petty also averages double digits with 10.5 points per game, while adding in 4.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest.