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Bethany’s Season Ends with Loss at 6th-Ranked Thomas More
Feb. 19 -CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team chased a major upset for a half, trailing 6th-ranked Thomas More by just five at halftime, but the Saints caught fire in the second half and pulled away for a 97-58 victory over the Bison in the PAC Tournament Quarterfinals Tuesday night.
After a three by junior Taylor Verrico (Monaca, Pa./Quigley) gave the Bison (7-19) a 5-3 lead, Thomas More (25-1) scored five straight and led the rest of the way. The home team threatened to pull away several times in the first half, as a 9-2 run swelled their cushion to 12 at 28-16 and the lead remained in double figures until Bethany made a run in the final five minutes of the half.
The push started with another trey from Verrico, which began a 9-0 run. Late in the half, a lay-in from Verrico and a triple by freshman Mikyla Tipton (right - Wellsville, Ohio) had Bethany within three again, but the Saints scored the final bucket of the half to make it a 41-36 TMC lead at the break.
Thomas More scored the first hoop of the second half but that was answered by a three from senior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley). The Saints then followed with 13 consecutive points to quickly take their lead to double digits and the home team continued to pull away in the second half. In addition to shooting 58 percent from the field after halftime, TMC also forced 18 Bison turnovers as the six-time defending league champions advanced to the semifinals.
A trio of Bison finished the contest in double digits, led by Verrico (right), who was 4-for-6 from the arc on her way to scoring 19 points. Finishing with 11 each was Taormina, who also grabbed a team-leading eight rebounds, and Tipton, who added three steals to her line.
Leading the way for the Saints was Allison Long with 26 points and Katie Kitchen with 19 markers and nine steals.