Dec. 16 WBB vs. Hiram (L, 69-64); Dec. 17 MBB vs. St. John Fisher (L, 79-70); Dec. 31 MBB vs. Ohio Northern (1:00 p.m.)

BISON COMPLETE BAHAMAS TRIP WITH 76-54 WIN OVER IMMACULATA

Dec. 20 - NASSAU, Bahamas – The Bethany College women’s basketball team completed its swing through the Bahamas with a 2-0 record after posting a 76-54 victory over Immaculata (Pa.) University Tuesday afternoon, which also gives BC its best start to a season in eight years.

The Bison, who have won seven of eight since a 0-3 beginning to the year, are now 7-4, their best opening to a campaign since the 2003-04 PAC Championship season. The Mighty Macs, who currently lead the Colonial States Athletic Conference, dropped to 6-5.

Neither team shot the ball well in the first half, with Bethany hitting 35 percent (10-29) from the field and Immaculata connecting at a 23 percent (7-31) clip. The score was tied at 13-13 midway through the period when BC junior Carly Garneau (Beavercreek, Ohio/Carroll) knocked down a trey to put the Bison ahead for good. The Green and White outscored the Mighty Macs 15-6 the rest of the half and took a 28-19 lead into the intermission.

The offenses started to heat up in the second half, particularly Bethany’s. Immaculata scored the first three points of the half, but the Bison responded with a 16-6 spurt over the next four and a half minutes to take their lead to 44-28. Garneau jump started the surge with a bucket and five different players scored during the run, which was capped off by a lay-up from junior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley).

Immaculata pushed back into the contest by notching eight of the next nine points to trim the Green and White advantage to 45-36 with nine minutes on the clock. The spread was 11 with 5:30 to go when Bethany put the victory away. An 11-2 run was highlighted by a three-point play from Taormina and back-to-back treys from sophomore Taylor Verrico (Monaca, Pa./Quigley) and Garneau that swelled the BC cushion to 66-46.

The Bison were able to coast to the win from there, as 12 different players recorded at least one point and BC remained undefeated in games at the Bahamas. Bethany is now 4-0 all-time in the Bahamas, as the program also won a pair of games down there during the 2003-04 season that improved their record to 7-4 that year.

Four players tallied double digits to spark the Bethany attack. Senior Anne Wilson (Saegertown, Pa./Cambridge Springs) fired in 15 and added four assists, while Taormina contributed 13 points and seven boards. The Bison’s All-Tournament Team selection was senior Renee Shepherd (New Martinsville, W.Va./Magnolia), who finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists. She was the only BC player to score in double digits in both games and averaged 12 markers and eight rebounds.

Rounding out the top scorers was Garneau, who dropped in 10 to match her career-high set back during her freshman season. She also led a Bethany bench that outscored Immaculata’s 31-9. The Mighty Macs top scorer was their All-Tournament Team selection in Chrissy Esbensen, who had a game-high 18.

The Bison will enjoy the sunshine for a couple days before returning home for the Christmas holiday. They can enjoy the fast start for a little while, as BC will not be in action again until Jan. 4 when they travel to Washington & Jefferson for a 6 p.m. tip-off.