Dec. 4 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany women’s basketball teams will host Waynesburg Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in a Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) contest at Hummel Field House, which will also be the Bison’s first home game of the season.
BC will be trying to stop a four-game losing streak that continued Wednesday with an 86-59 loss at sixth-ranked Thomas More (6-0, 1-0). Bethany trimmed a 15-point deficit to eight in the closing minutes of the first half, but the Saints hit a three just before the half ended and scored eight of the first 10 points in the second half to begin to pull away. Freshman Tamara Blankenship (Clarksburg, Pa./Saltsburg) led BC with a career-high 11 and sophomore Kelly Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) added 10.
Bethany’s offense has been unable to find a rhythm so far this year. After shooting 41.7 percent (20-48) in a season-opening setback to Manchester, the Bison have not bettered 40 percent in the last five games. Although senior center Renee Brandenburg (Avella, Pa.) is ranked second in the conference in field goal percentage (59.6), BC as a team is shooting at a 35.3 percent clip, which ranks eighth in the PAC.
Although they’ve struggled from the floor, Bethany has been good at the free throw line. Outside the Wittenberg loss Nov. 29, when they shot 61 percent from the charity stripe, the Bison have knocked down 72 percent or higher in every other game, including a perfect 10-for-10 against Thomas More. Blankenship keyed that performance by sinking all six of her attempts and as a team, the Bison rank third in the league at 75.6 percent for the season.
In the all-time series with Waynesburg, Bethany holds a 26-15 advantage and has taken three straight, including a pair of convincing Ws last year. The Bison posted a 65-47 triumph on the road before besting the Yellow Jackets 77-50 in Hummel Field House. Kelly Goode played large roles, as she averaged 20 points and 4.5 steals in the two outings.
The Waynesburg team of this year has a different look this season. One reason is new head coach Sam Jones and while his team enters with a 1-3 mark, two of their losses came with less than 10 seconds to play. They lost their opener 50-49 at Allegheny on a bucket with seven ticks remaining and then dropped a 48-46 decision the next day to Fredonia State (N.Y.) on two free throws with four seconds left.
The Yellow Jackets, who went 1-25 a season ago and lost every game following a win in their season opener, finally broke through Wednesday by rallying to beat Thiel 66-64. Waynesburg trailed 62-55 with 4:32 to play, but closed the contest with a 9-2 run, capped off by Elisha Jones’ three-point play with only two seconds to go. Jones led all scorers with 25, while Callie White fired in 16 and Hannah Hunter finished with 10, as the Jackets snapped a 28-game regular season losing streak.
An Honorable Mention All-PAC choice as a freshman, Jones has continued to develop into one of the top players in the conference. She is posting 17.3 points, second in the PAC, and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the foul line. Hunter is the only other Yellow Jacket scoring double digits at 10.0 and she leads the team in field goal percentage (56.0) and steals (11).