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BISON WOMEN SEEK REVENGE AGAINST THIEL WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Feb. 1 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team will be looking to avenge a last-second loss to Thiel earlier this season when it hosts the Tomcats Wednesday night at Hummel Field House in a 6 p.m. tip-off.
Even though there are six regular season games remaining, Wednesday will be pivotal in the conference standings. The Bison (9-10, 4-6) are currently in sixth place in the league, one game behind Washington & Jefferson (5-5) and only one game ahead of Thiel (5-14, 3-7). A Bethany victory Wednesday can keep them in contention for a possible home game in the PAC Tournament, but a loss puts them in jeopardy of finishing in the bottom two spots and ending up with a road game in the first round of the playoffs against #1 Thomas More or #22 Saint Vincent.
Bethany enters Wednesday on a bit of a down note, as they continued their recent struggles at home with an 82-70 setback to Geneva Saturday. The Bison led by three at halftime, but Geneva shot 60 percent from the field in the second half to rally and hand BC their fourth straight loss at Hummel Field House. Junior Anne Wilson (Saegertown, Pa./Cambridge Springs) tallied a team-best 17 points and junior Katelynn Hackathorn (Valley Grove, W.Va./Wheeling Park) totaled 14 points and eight rebounds.
The 56.7 percent that Geneva shot on Saturday was the highest percentage allowed by Bethany this year. When the Bison hold a team to less than 40 percent from the field, they have a perfect 9-0 record this season. For the year, BC is ranked ninth in the conference in field goal percentage defense at 41.5, ahead of only Thiel, whose opponents are shooting 42.1 percent.
On the other side, Thiel has won two in a row by a combined three points. After nipping Geneva 68-66 Jan. 26 on two Kelly Muffley free throws with 0.2 seconds to play, the Tomcats upended W&J Saturday 65-64. Muffley was again at the center of an exciting finish, as it was her jumper with seven seconds to go that provided the winning points for Thiel. Leading the Tomcats in the win was Kelly Barzak with 18 points and 10 boards and Ashley Davis with 16.
Last week’s PAC Player of the Week because of her late-game heroics, Muffley also hit the game-winning shot in the first meeting with Bethany. The Bison led that Jan. 3 game 70-62 with two minutes to play but Thiel scored the final nine points, capped off by Muffley’s jumper with less than five seconds remaining for a 71-70 triumph. Hackathorn and sophomore Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) both hit for 18 to lead Bethany, but the Tomcats countered with 24 points from Jasmin Jones and 14 apiece from Muffley and Davis, who also grabbed 14 boards.
In addition to being clutch down the stretch for the Tomcats, Muffley is also the team’s leading scorer with 11.2 points per game and she is first in the PAC in three-point percentage at 44.0 (33-75). Barzak is the main threat inside with 10.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and a conference-best 2.8 blocked shots per game. Davis, who returned from injury just prior to the first Bethany meeting, is putting up 10.8 points and 8.6 boards in 10 games this year.