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Bethany Women's Basketball to Host #2 Thomas More

Feb. 3 - BETHANY, W. Va. - Coming off a successful 2-0 week last week, the Bethany College women's basketball team (10-9, 6-6 PAC) will look to build off that momentum as they host the nationally ranked Saints of Thomas More College on Wednesday. Full game notes can be viewed below.

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The Bison: The Bethany women’s basketball team comes into Wednesday’s contest with Thomas More College having posted victories in three of their last four games. The Bison pushed their overall record back over the .500 mark with victories over Geneva (85-61) and Thiel (70-66) last week.

With the wins, Bethany now sits alone in fifth-place in the PAC standings at 6-6. The Green & White are one game ahead of sixth-place Grove City and just one game behind Waynesburg for fourth (7-5).

In the victory over the Golden Tornadoes, four different Bison scored in double figures, led by a career-high 27 points and 16 rebounds from freshman Kelsea Duagherty. Junior Mikyla Tipton totaled her first career double-double in the win, finishing the game with 13 points and 11 boards. Sophomores Hayley Holenka and Lauren Simpson also totaled double-figures, finishing with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

In the win over Thiel, Daugherty and Holenka once again led the way as each finished in double figures. Daugherty dropped in 27 points for the second-straight game, while posting her eighth double-double of the season. Holenka finished the contest with 16 points, which included two, three-point baskets. Sophomore Alexis Naples also played well, orchestrating the offense to the tune of 11 assists.

With six games remaining in the regular season, the Bison rank fifth in the conference in points per game (69.7) while ranking seventh in opponents’ points per contest (72.0).

Individually, Daugherty comes into the contest with the Saints ranked fourth in the PAC in points per game (16.1) while ranking third in rebounds per night (8.9). Holenka and Tipton each also rank in the top 20 in points per game. Holenka currently sits 10th (12.2) while Tipton ranks 18th (10.1).

The Saints:
Thomas More enters the contest as one of five teams left in all of Division III with an undefeated record. The Saints are currently second in both national polls including the D3Hoops.com Top 25 poll and the USA Today Sports Division III Top 25 poll.

TMC enters the contest having won 19 consecutive games including wins over Grove City (82-37) and Westminster (88-50). In the drubbing of the Wolverines, the Saints held Grove City to 24 percent shooting in the game including giving up just six made baskets in the second-half. Nikki Kiernan led all scorers in the game with 19 points, while Syndi Wainscott (12 points) and Alexa Santamaria (10 points) each finished in double figures.

In the victory over Westminster, Thomas More forced 29 Titan turnovers to come away with the 38-point win. Sydney Moss dropped a game high 22 points while Kiernan posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards.

So far on the season, the Saints rank first in the PAC in points per game (85.3), scoring defense (50 ppg), and currently rank first in the Nation in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by 35.3 points per game.

Last Meeting:  In the two teams’ previous meeting, the Saints defeated the Bison 94-45 on January 7. In the contest, Daugherty and Moss posted competing double doubles. Moss scored 19 points and grabbed 10 boards, while Daugherty bettered those numbers with 20 points and 13 rebounds.

Player of the Week: For her performance in back-to-back wins last week, Daugherty began to receive National recognition. Not only was the freshman named the PAC Player of the Week, and the ECAC Division III South Region Player of the Week, but Daugherty was also named to the National Team of the Week by D3Hoops.com.

It marks the first time in her career that the freshman forward has earned the award, and she deserved it, averaging a double-double in wins over Geneva and Thiel last week. Daugherty posted 27 points and 14 rebounds per game while shooting 66.7 percent on the week.

Since being inserted into the starting lineup 14 games ago, Daugherty has posted seven of her double-doubles while averaging 18.3 points per game. During that same time period she has also averaged 9.9 rebounds per game.

Daugherty became the first Bison to be named to the D3Hoops.com Team of the Week since Renee Brandenburg earned the distinction twice in 2008-09.

Limit Turnovers: A big key for the Bison against Thomas More on Wednesday will be how well they can manage the game and keep from committing turnovers. In their previous contest against the Nation’s second-ranked team, the Bison turned the ball over 23 times.

The Saints come into the game ranked third in the Nation in steals (15.4 per game) while also ranking second in turnover margin (+12.79).

Sophomore guard Alexis Naples will be a key factor in the Bison’s ability to control the tempo of the game. Naples come into the contest tied for third in the PAC and 15th in the Nation in assists/turnover ratio (2.3). She is also coming off a career-high 11 assist performance in a win against Thiel on Saturday. That number marked the most by a Bison guard since 2006, and the most against a PAC opponent in nearly two decades.

Hitting the Glass: The Green & White have done well on the boards this season as they are tied for second in rebounding margin (+3.6). Wednesday, however, they will compete against a formidable opponent on the glass. The Saints come into the game ranked fifth in the Nation in rebounding margin (+12.4).

The Bison and Saints are also the two best programs in the conference in getting to the offensive glass. The Green & White rank second in offensive rebounds per game (15.3) while the Saints are first (17.5).

Bethany does a nice job of rebounding by committee, as four different starters, and five players overall, rank in the top 20 in the PAC in rebounds per game. Daugherty comes in ranked third (8.9) while Schott (15th - 5.6), Holenka and Tipton (18th - 5.2) and Gabrielle Naples (20th - 4.7) all rank in the top 20. Daugherty also comes into the contest as the PAC’s top offensive rebounder, averaging 3.9 per game. For Thomas More, Moss is the Saints’ leading rebounder, averaging 6.8 per game.