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BISON WOMEN TRY TO BOUNCE BACK SATURDAY AGAINST CHATHAM
Jan. 14 - BETHANY, W.Va. – After coming up just short in upsetting Thomas More Wednesday night at home, the Bethany women’s basketball team will try to bounce back Saturday when they host Chatham in a 2 p.m. tip-off at Hummel Field House.
The Bison (4-10, 1-4) chased the upset possibility against 17th-ranked (WBCA poll) Thomas More through regulation and into overtime Wednesday before the Saints escaped with a 78-71 victory. Bethany trailed by three at halftime, but the second half featured nine lead changes and four ties. BC was ahead by two in regulation before Thomas More tied it again on two foul shots with 1:04 to play to send the game into OT. It was still tied at 71 with 1:14 to play before TMC rolled off the final seven points of the game to pick up the victory.
Sophomore Katelynn Hackathorn (Valley Grove, W.Va./Wheeling Park) spearheaded the upset charge by setting career-highs with 18 points and 13 rebounds for her second career double-double. Three others reached double figures for Bethany, including freshman Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) with 17, sophomore Renee Shepherd (New Martinsville, W.Va./Magnolia) with 11 and sophomore Anne Wilson (Saegertown, Pa./Cambridge Springs) with 10.
Although Bethany is ranked seventh in the PAC in scoring, they stay tight in games because of a strong defensive effort. It took an extra five minutes for Thomas More to put up 78 points against the Green and White, which is the most they’ve allowed this season and only the third time an opponent has scored 70 or more. Currently, the Bison are giving up 62.1 points per game, which is the lowest average since 2001-02 when they surrendered 61.6.
One area that the Bison could look to improve in is free throw shooting, although not necessarily in their accuracy. Only two PAC teams have made fewer trips to the charity stripe this season than Bethany, who has particularly struggled getting to the line in the last six. Over that stretch, BC is averaging fewer than 11 free throws per game, while in the first eight contests this season, the Bison were getting to the line nearly 20 times per outing.
Saturday will be the 11th all-time meeting between Bethany and Chatham, with the Bison controlling the series to this point. They are 10-0 against the Cougars, including four wins since Chatham joined the PAC in 2007-08. The last two meetings in Hummel Field House have been close however, with BC claiming 86-77 and 60-56 decisions on their home floor.
Chatham (6-7, 1-4) will also be trying to rebound from a near upset on Wednesday. They hosted #25 Washington & Jefferson and battled the Presidents down to the wire before a W&J three at the buzzer allowed them to come away with a 53-50 triumph in Pittsburgh. The Cougars cashed in eight three-pointers to stay right with the Presidents and overcome 14 turnovers. Forward Kayla Hilko tallied 14 points and grabbed seven boards to pace Chatham’s upset attempt.
Hilko is the top scorer for a balanced Cougar offense. She is posting 9.9 points and 5.2 boards per game, while Barb Petty is averaging 9.6 points and a team-high 2.8 assists a contest. Chatham also relies on a solid defense, as they are second in the PAC in points allowed (55.5) and third in field goal percentage defense (35.9), steals (12.2) and turnovers forced (21.9).