Feb. 17 – GROVE CITY, Pa. – In a tough, defensive battle, in which neither side led by more than seven points, the Bethany College women’s basketball team found themselves on the short end of a 59-58 decision at Grove City College on Wednesday evening.
The Bison opened a lead to their biggest of the game in the early stages of the first quarter. Down 6-4, the Green & White used a 7-0 run to take a five-point advantage. Kelsea Daugherty (Newport, Ohio/Frontier) opened the run with a layup and was followed by a fast-break basket by Mikyla Tipton (Wellsville, Ohio/Wellsville).
Following Tipton’s first steal of the game, Maclaine Murad (Bridgeport, Ohio/Bridgeport) knocked down a triple to give the Green & White an 11-6 lead with 3:21 to play in the first.
Over the final three minutes of the quarter, the Wolverines responded with a 12-3 run to take a four-point lead (18-14) with 39 seconds to play. Daugherty would close out the quarter with a jumper, making the score 18-16 in favor of the home team at the end of one.
Despite keeping the game close throughout the second quarter, the Bison could not regain the advantage in the stanza. The Green & White would bring the score to as close as two points on three separate occasions over the quarter, including 23-21 on a basket by Daugherty with 4:56 remaining in the half.
From the Daugherty basket, the Bison found themselves outscored 9-4 as Grove City opened the lead to the largest of the evening (32-25) with 1:53 remaining in the half.
Bethany would lock down defensively over the final two minutes of the stanza, getting the final bucket of the half on a steal and fast-break score by Tipton to pull the Bison within five (32-27) at the break.
Daugherty dominated the scoring for the Bison in the opening half, scoring 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
Bethany continued to stay within striking distance throughout the third quarter, but was unable to take the lead. The Green & White pulled within two points or tied the game seven different times in the third quarter, outscoring Grove City 17-14.
The Bison knotted the game twice in the quarter, both coming in the late stages of the frame. Daugherty was once again involved, tying the game the second time at 42-42 on a jumper with 2:07 remaining.
Opening the fourth quarter, Grove City would push the lead to five on a three-pointer by Mackenzie Black. However, a quick, 5-0 run by the Bison would once again knot the teams.
Holenka started the small run with a layup, which was then followed by an “old-fashioned” three-point play from Daugherty, tying the game at 49-49 with 7:02 to play.
Over the course of the fourth quarter, the Bison would pull the game within one point, three different times, but were still unable to grab the lead.
With just 38 seconds remaining in the game, the Green & White finally broke through, getting a jumper from Daugherty to give Bethany their first advantage since the early stages of the first quarter (58-57).
The host Wolverines would respond on their next possession, with sophomore Katelyn Miller connecting on a jumper from the top of the key. The basket gave Grove City a 59-58 advantage with 14 seconds left.
Bethany would get the final shot of the game in the waning seconds. A short jumper attempt by Hayley Holenka (Shadyside, Ohio/Shadyside) was blocked by Grove City’s Lexie Arkwright. Holenka retrieved the offensive rebound, but her second shot was wide of the mark as time expired and the Bison fell by the one-point decision, 59-58.
The loss by the Green & White marked the fourth-straight in which the game has been decided by single digits, and the third in a row in which the difference was five or less.
Daugherty and Tipton led the way for the Bison, each totaling a double-double in the game. Daugherty posted her third straight, finishing with a season-high 26 points while also adding 11 rebounds. Over her last three games, Daugherty is averaging 17.3 points and 11.6 rebounds per night.
Tipton posted her third double-double in the last four games, finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds. She also led in other facets of the game, adding five assists and five steals to her totals. In her last four outings, Tipton has stuffed the stat sheet, averaging 12.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and three steals per night.
As a team, the Bison played well on the defensive end, holding Grove City to 2-of-14 shooting from beyond the three-point line while also forcing 18 turnovers.
Bethany will be back in action on Saturday, February 20 as they return home to take on Washington & Jefferson College for the team’s regular-season finale. The game, which will also serve as the Bison’s senior day, is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.