Jan. 22 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team will conclude its toughest stretch of the season with its fifth road game in the last seven outings by playing at Geneva Wednesday night in a 5:30 p.m. tip-off.
The Bison (5-12, 3-7) lost for the seventh time in the last eight games and fell to 3-7 this year on the road with a 76-54 loss at Waynesburg Saturday. The BC offense continued to be as cold as the weather, as the Green and White made just 29 percent (20-69) from the field, the fifth time in the last six games the team has shot under 33 percent. Junior Taylor Verrico (right - Monaca, Pa./Quigley) knocked down seven free throws and finished with a game-high 15 points and freshman Mikyla Tipton (Wellsville, Ohio) chipped in 10 off the bench.
While Bethany has struggled to score during this recent stretch, the Bison defense has not been as stingy as it was at the beginning of the year. When BC was off to a 4-5 start to open the campaign, the team was limiting its opponents to just 54.2. But during the last eight contests, teams are scoring 70.9 points and shooting 43.5 percent from the field. In addition, after forcing teams to turn the ball over more than 17 times through the opening nine games, Bethany’s foes are committing only 14 a game in the last eight.
The Bison’s best defensive performance of the season came in their first match-up with Geneva Dec. 5th. The Golden Tornadoes shot just 26 percent (14-55) from the field and turned the ball over 19 times, as Bethany came away with a 57-34 victory. The Bison dominated the first half to build a 30-13 lead by the break and then held off the GTs with a 56-35 rebounding advantage. The balanced BC attack was led by senior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) with 10 points and 10 rebounds, Tipton with 10 markers and freshman Brianna Nuzum (right - Morgantown, W.Va.) with eight points and 11 boards.
Geneva (2-15, 0-10) picked up their two wins around the holiday by defeating Houghton and Franciscan, but has since lost six in a row. On Saturday, the GTs turned it over just nine times but Thiel’s 47-26 rebounding advantage and 11 three-pointers doomed Geneva’s hopes. The offensive production was paced by Heidi Mann, who canned four treys and scored 20 points while also posting six steals. It was the sixth time this year she’s hit for 20 or more in a game.
While the Bison are in a scoring slump, the Golden Tornadoes have been struggling all season to put points on the board. They rank last in the conference with 45.6 points per game and have shot 35 percent or lower in each of their last six losses. Geneva does have a pair of double-digit scorers in Mann, who is ninth in the league with 12.6 points per game, and Leah Prisuta, who is putting in 10.8 markers a game. Bethany will look to use their advantage on the boards in the contest, as BC is +4.1 in rebounding margin, while the GTs are 10th in the conference in rebounding margin at -11.3.