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Jan. 23 - WASHINGTON, Pa. – Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) College (12-4, 5-2) held a 42-18 advantage in points in the paint, which helped them stave off a second half rally from the Bethany College women’s basketball team (9-7, 5-2) and hand the Bison a 71-61 defeat Wednesday night.

The Bison shooters were hot early, as BC buried three triples to take an 18-13 lead after 10 minutes. The Presidents turned to their inside game to claim the lead, as they scored four buckets in the paint during a 12-2 run that pushed the hosts in front 25-20. A three from sophomore Stephanie Shafer (Lancaster, Ohio) made it a two-point game, but W&J”s Maggie Gibson scored her team’s final eight points of the half, which gave the Presidents a 35-27 lead at halftime.

Bethany had an odd first half shooting, as they were 5-for-9 from three-point land, but only 5-for-22 inside the arc. Freshman Kelly Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) was perfect on her two attempts from deep and had a team-high nine at the break. Gibson led W&J by totaling 14 markers.

The Presidents’ inside game continued to give Bethany problems in the second half, as two straight hoops from Gibson and a jumper from Emily Hays swelled W&J’s advantage to 49-35 with 14:21 to play. A three from senior guard Lisa Mitchell (Burgettstown, Pa./Avella) on the next possession started a gradual Bison rally. Down by nine with 8:17 to play, BC tallied seven straight, including two technical foul shots by Mitchell followed immediately by a Goode trey to get within a basket at 58-56 with 4:35 remaining.

However, Gibson and W&J’s foul shooters would prove to be too much. Two possessions after Goode’s three, Gibson’s three-point play extended the lead back to five. Then Kennan Killeen went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe in the final 1:16 to secure the win for the Presidents, who moved into a second place tie with Bethany in the PAC.

Although the Bison managed to hold a 36-34 advantage on the boards against W&J, the PAC’s top rebounding squad, Bethany shot just 34 percent (22-65) for the game. Mitchell finished with a team-high 18 points, while Kelly Goode notched 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

Three scorers found double figures for the Presidents, led by Gibson with 26 and Hays with 19, while Killeen scored a dozen, all on free throws.

Bethany will begin the second half of PAC play Saturday with a trip to Thomas More (Ky.) College. The third-ranked Saints (16-0, 7-0) remained undefeated Wednesday with a 62-50 victory over Saint Vincent. Tip-off for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 1 p.m.