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Bison Continue Road Trip Saturday at Saint Vincent
Jan. 4 -BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team will play its second of three consecutive road games to open the New Year when the Bison travel to Saint Vincent Saturday for a 1 p.m. tip-off.
The new calendar year did not have a good start for BC on Wednesday, as Bethany (4-8, 2-3) fell behind Westminster by 18 at halftime and ended up on the short end of a 72-49 setback in New Wilmington. The Bison made just 33 percent of their shots from the floor, while the Titans shot 50 percent, including 7-of-10 from the arc. Junior Taylor Verrico (Monaca, Pa./Quigley) scored a team-best 14 points and sophomore Monica Westerheide (Zanesville, Ohio/Bishop Rosecran) set a career-high with 12 points and pulled down six rebounds.
Despite a season-low six points in Wednesday’s defeat, senior Kayla Taormina (right - Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) is on the cusp of a career milestone. She enters the Saint Vincent contest with 986 career points and with 14 more, will become the 16th women’s player in Bethany history to hit 1,000 for her career. It will not be easy for Taormina to reach that goal Saturday. She is the team’s leading scorer with 12.9 points per game, but has 14 or more in a game just four times this year. In addition, Saint Vincent ranks third in the PAC in scoring defense with 55.8 points per game allowed.
The strong game from Westerheide (right) helped the Bison bench outscore Westminster’s 16-5 Wednesday night. That has been a recent trend for the Green and White, as it marked the seventh straight game BC’s reserves have scored more than their opponents and eighth time in 12 games this season. The high mark came back on Dec. 3rd, when Bethany’s bench outscored Franciscan’s 33-1 in a 15-point Bison victory.
Bethany will need a strong game from its entire roster when they take on a Saint Vincent team that has won four of its last five games and is coming off an explosive offensive performance. The Bearcats (8-4, 4-1) knocked down 11 three-pointers and committed just three turnovers in posting a 98-56 triumph at Thiel Wednesday night. Senior forward Devon McGrath led the onslaught with 24 points and 15 rebounds and the SVC bench dropped in 46 points, as the Bearcats played on the road for the 11th time in 12 games this season.
Saint Vincent relies on a pressure defense, which forces 22.8 turnovers per game, second-most in the PAC. McGrath, a two-time All-PAC selection, is one of the top players in the conference and has an impressive line so far, ranking fifth in scoring (15.8), third in rebounding (9.8), seventh in field goal percentage (43.8), third in steals (3.0) and 13th in assists (2.4). Her work on the defensive side, along with Melissa Mansur, who leads the league with 4.0 steals per game, fuels the Bearcat pressure. Mansur is also the squad’s leader in assists with 3.2 per game and is second in scoring (8.9).