Jan. 29 – BETHANY, W. Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team erased a six-point deficit with under one minute to play, but ultimately fell to Presidents’ Athletic Conference foe Geneva College, 59-58.
The Bison came out of the gates locked in, embarking on a 14-3 run to take an early 11-point lead. The run was capped with a driving layup by Mikayla Tipton (Wellsville, Ohio/Wellsville) at the 14:21 mark of the first half.
The Golden Tornadoes would respond, however, as they countered with a 15-4 run to knot the game at 18-18 with 7:16 left to play before the half. The run was finished by a layup from Marissa Heaney.
The next seven minutes saw the lead change hands multiple times, with Bethany entering intermission with a slim two-point advantage (32-30).
The Bison dominated the glass in the first stanza, outrebounding the Golden Tornadoes 25-15, which included nine offensive rebounds. Bethany received two apiece from Shelva Burns (Weirton, W. Va./Weir), Gabrielle Naples (Salem, Ohio/South Range) and Sami Schott (Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah).
The first 12 minutes of the second half was a dogfight, as the contest saw seven lead changes and five ties over that span. The last of the ties came on a bucket by Burns, which knotted the game at 48-48 at the 8:44 mark.
Geneva would reclaim the lead, using a 9-3 run, to put the Golden Tornadoes up by six (57-51) with under five to play in regulation.
Trailing by six points (59-53) with 49 seconds to play, the Bison showed their heart and determination, storming back with five straight points.
Lauren Simpson (Washington, Pa./Trinity) initiated the rally, hitting a clutch three-point shot, to trim the deficit to just three-points (59-56) with 26 seconds remaining.
After Geneva was unable to convert from the charity stripe, Taylor Verrico (Monaca, Pa./Quigley) drove the lane, absorbed contact and converted on a layup to cut the Golden Tornado lead to one point (59-58) with 1.2 seconds to play. Fouled on the play, Verrico stepped to the line with a chance to tie.
Verrico’s shot missed the mark, but was corralled by Schott, who had another look at the basket. Schott’s attempt also fell short as the Golden Tornadoes escaped with the conference victory.
The Bison were led by Skylar Williams (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) and Naples. Williams stuffed the stat sheet, scoring 11 points while adding eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Naples had another solid performance, totaling a team-high 12 points while adding nine rebounds.
The Bison women will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 1, when they travel to Grove City, Pa., to take on the Wolverines in a PAC bout. Tipoff is slated for 1:00 p.m.