Jan. 31 – BETHANY, W. Va. – Led by a fourth straight 20-point performance from freshman Kelsea Daugherty (Newport, Ohio/Frontier) as well as a career night from sophomore point guard Alexis Naples (Salem, Ohio/South Ranger), the Bethany College women’s basketball team pushed their Presidents’ Athletic Conference record to 6-6 (10-9 overall) as they defeated the Tomcats of Thiel College by a score of 70-66 on Saturday afternoon.
The visiting Tomcats opened the contest on a 14-5 run to put the Bison into an early nine-point hole just six minutes into the game. The conference’s third-leading scorer, Jaclyn Watkins, fueled the Tomcat run, scoring eight of the team’s first 14 points.
Down 18-12 with 11:31 to play in the opening half, the Bison would embark on an 8-2 run to knot the contest at 20-20 with 7:45 remaining. Sophomore Hayley Holenka (Shadyside, Ohio/Shadyside) started the run with a three-point bucket which was followed by a long jumper from sophomore Carly Grady (Kyser, W. Va./Keyser). Holenka then bookended the run with another three, knotting the contest at 20 apiece.
The teams would play the final seven minutes close, with neither team gaining more than a five-point lead. The Bison would go into the locker room trailing by just one, 32-31, at the halftime break.
The see-saw battle would continue in the second half as seven lead changes and four ties would litter the first nine minutes of action. With 11:41 to play in regulation, Thiel’s Hannah Stoneman tied the contest at 48-48 with a layup off a pass from Watkins.
On the very next Bison possession, however, freshman Mytia Barker (Wintersville, Ohio/Steubenville) would untie the game with a deep three to give the Green & White a 51-48 advantage.
Five minutes later, Thiel would attempt one last push, retaking the lead from the Bison with 6:33 to play on a free-throw by Watkins. The freebie gave the Tomcats a 56-55 lead, but that, however, is when the Bison would make their largest push of the game.
Just 13 seconds after the Watkins free throw, Sami Schott (Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah) gave the lead right back to the Bison with a jumper from the top of the key. The jump shot sparked a 7-0 run, which included back-to-back layups by Holenka, giving Bethany its largest lead of the game, 62-56, with 2:41 to play.
The Tomcats would shrink the lead once again, putting pressure on the Bison to get the advantage back down to a slim, two points (62-60) with 2:00 to play. However a layup by Daugherty and two clutch free throws from Alexis Naples pushed the advantage back to six, 66-60, with 1:11 left.
From there, the Green & White would hold on for the four-point victory, 70-66, giving the Bison a much deserved sixth conference win, placing them one game ahead of Grove City College for fifth place in the PAC standings.
In the win, Daugherty posted her fourth-straight 20-point performance, finishing with a game-high 27 points and 12 rebounds. She became the first Bison since Jenny Place in 2005-06 to post 20-point performances in four-consecutive games.
Daugherty also added her eighth double-double of the season, including her sixth in her last eight games. In the past two weeks, Daugherty has been on a tare, helping the Bison to a 3-1 mark against conference opponents. In those games, Daugherty is averaging 26 points and 12 boards, while shooting a blazing 62.5 percent from the field.
As a true point guard, Alexis Naples had one of the finest games of her career as she posted a career-high 11 assists while turning the ball over just once. Naples 11 dimes are the most by any Bethany player since Nicole Thompson dished 11 against Franciscan in 2006. It also marks the most by a Bison against a PAC opponent since Jana Stewart collected 12 assists vs. Waynesburg all the way back in 1997. Naples was also just three assists shy of the Bethany single-game record.
Other top offensive performances for the Bison included Hayley Holenka’s 16 points. Holenka made seven shots from the field, including two from long range, giving her 41 on the year which ranks second in the PAC. Grady finished the contest with six points while Mikyla Tipton (Wellsville, Ohio/Wellsville) and Gabrielle Naples (Salem, Ohio/South Range) added five, each.
The Green & White will be back in action on Wednesday, February 4 when the host the #2-ranked Saints of Thomas More College. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. tip.