Feb. 16 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Junior forward Susannah Cartland (Harvard, Ill.) led five scorers in double digits with 16 and the Bethany College women’s basketball team held off a late rally from visiting Chatham to record an 86-77 victory Saturday afternoon.
The triumph clinched the Bison’s (14-9, 9-3) first winning season since 2003-04. It was also the fourth in a row by BC, their longest winning streak in three years. The Cougars dropped to 8-14 and 4-8 in the league.
Bethany threatened to pull away multiple times in the first half, twice running out to 10-point leads in the first 10 minutes. Chatham would trim the deficit both times and was within 29-24 with seven minutes left in the half on a three-pointer by Amanda Vranka. The Bison would finally claim control of the contest through the rest of the half, as they outscored the visitors 23-11 to close the period and carry a 52-35 advantage into intermission.
The 52 points in a half was a season-high for Bethany, who hit 18-of-33 shots from the floor (54.5 percent). Cartland led all scorers with 12 at the break and junior guard Kaitlyn McCormick (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) fired in 10. Kayla Hilko tallied 11 in the first half for Chatham, who committed 13 turnovers which were converted into 21 BC points.
Early in the second half, consecutive three-pointers by junior guard Caelyn DiSanti (Tarentum, Pa./North Catholic) and freshman guard Stacy Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) swelled the Bison’s lead over 20, which is where the margin stood for a good portion of the second half. A three-point play by McCormick with 15:25 remaining gave Bethany their largest lead of the game at 69-45.
The victory would not come easily for the Green and White however, as the Cougars made one major push to contend for the victory. Brittany Brown’s three-point play with 2:23 remaining capped an 18-4 spurt that brought Chatham within nine at 82-73. Bethany finally put the game away when sophomore guard Stephanie Shafer (Lancaster, Ohio) knocked down a jumper to push the lead back to double digits and added two free throws down the stretch, giving BC a win that moved them into a tie with Washington & Jefferson for second place in the PAC.
Bethany finished the contest with a 46-35 rebounding advantage, the third time in the last four games they have bettered their foe on the glass. BC also shot 46.8 percent from the floor, their second-highest percentage of the season.
The Bison’s offensive output was led by Cartland, who was 6-for-10 from the floor for her 16 points. Other top contributors included McCormick with 13 points, five rebounds and four steals, junior center Renee Brandenburg (Avella, Pa.) with 12 markers and a team-high eight rebounds, Stacy Goode with 11 points and her twin sister Kelly Goode with 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Cougars received a big effort from Brown in the setback, as she totaled a career-high 24 points and pulled in five boards. Also notching double figures were Hilko with 16 and Vranka with 11.
The Bison will try to maintain their tie for second in the conference Wednesday when they travel to Westminster for a 6 p.m. tip-off. BC knocked off the Titans 83-66 in the team’s first meeting Jan. 19. If Bethany and W&J, who hosts Waynesburg Wednesday, are both victorious, then they will face off next Saturday at Hummel Field House in the regular season finale to determine who will be the second seed in the conference tourney.