BISON CLOSE OUT REGULAR SEASON SATURDAY AT #21 W&J
Feb. 19 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany women’s basketball team will put their seven-game winning streak on the line when they play their final regular season game Saturday afternoon at #21 Washington & Jefferson in a 2 p.m. tip-off.
The contest will not have an effect on the PAC Tournament seedings for next week, as the Presidents (21-3, 11-2) are locked in at #2 and the Bison (14-10, 8-5) have clinched the third seed. The conference playoffs begin next Tuesday with quarterfinal action, as BC will host #6 Waynesburg at Hummel Field House and W&J will square off with the seventh-seed Westminster in Washington.
Saturday’s game is far from meaningless for both sides however. Bethany upset W&J, ranked 20th in the nation at the time, 66-61 back on Jan. 21, so the Presidents will be looking to avenge one of their conference losses and the Bison will be aiming to sweep the season series for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
In the previous match-up, Bethany led for all but two minutes of the game. The Bison streaked to a 38-27 halftime lead, only to see W&J rally to take a 44-43 advantage eight minutes into the second half. BC moved back in front on a three-pointer by sophomore Stacy Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) and never trailed again. Bethany went a season-best 8-for-14 from the arc in the victory and posted a 42-37 rebounding advantage. Leading the Bison was Kelly (15 points) and Stacy Goode (10), who combined for 25 points and 6-for-7 shooting from deep, while senior Renee Brandenburg (Avella, Pa.) tallied 10 points and nine rebounds.
For W&J, 60 of their 61 points came from their starters, as BC’s bench posted a 30-1 advantage in scoring. Emily Hays totaled 19 points and nine rebounds and Maggie Gibson finished with 16 markers and 14 boards, her second career double-double against Bethany.
The Bison continued their recent roll by rallying to beat Westminster 82-74 Wednesday for their seventh consecutive victory. The Titans led by as many as 14 in the first half and held a four-point halftime margin. After Bethany battled back to lead by as many as eight in the second half, the game was tied at 71-71 before Stacy Goode’s trey with 2:03 to go gave BC the lead for good. Brandenburg led all scorers with 20, while sophomore Tara Harris (Zanesville, Ohio) matched her career-high with 18 points and also hauled down eight boards.
Bethany forced 22 Westminster turnovers in the victory, which was the third straight game and 16th time this season BC has harassed the opposition into 20 or more miscues. It will not be easy for the Bison to cause that much havoc on Saturday, as they forced only 13 W&J turnovers the first time they played. The Presidents, who have committed 20+ turnovers just three times this year, are third in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (14.0).
W&J is paced by a rugged inside game, featuring Hays, the second-leading scorer in the league (15.9) and Gibson, the PAC leader in rebounding at 10.8 and the fourth-leading scorer for the team with 9.7. The Presidents can also go outside, with point guard Kennan Killeen putting up 9.8 points and 3.9 assists per game and Stephanie Smith (9.8), who leads the conference in threes per game (2.43) and is third in three-point percentage (40.9).