Feb. 20 - NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Junior forward Susannah Cartland’s (Harvard, Ill.) three-point play with 5.1 seconds remaining broke a 50-50 tie, allowing the Bethany College women’s basketball team to claim a 53-50 victory at Westminster Wednesday night.
The win was the Bison’s fifth in a row and improved their record to 15-9 overall and 10-3 in the PAC. The Titans drop to 14-10 and 7-7 in the league.
BC scored the opening bucket of the contest but didn’t lead again for the rest of the first half. Westminster tallied seven straight points midway through the half to construct a 22-12 advantage, but Bethany answered back with six consecutive and would go into the half down by just four at 27-23.
Freshman guard Kelly Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) fired in eight during the first half for the Bison, who shot just 30 percent (9-30) through the first 20 minutes. Westminster was led by Terese Marszalek’s eight, but the Titans committed 16 first half turnovers which led to a dozen BC points.
Bethany tied the game twice in the first five minutes of the second half, but the hosts answered both times with scores on their next possessions. The Bison finally reclaimed the lead at 35-34 on a lay-up from freshman guard Stacy Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) with 10:33 to go and BC would go on to build a 50-45 advantage following a lay-up from freshman Tara Harris (Zanesville, Ohio) with 1:57 left.
The Titans trimmed it to a three-point game on two free throws by Amy Dolsak. Following a Bethany turnover, Westminster had two chances for scores but missed. Following another BC miscue, the Titans drew even with the visitors when Dolsak buried a three with less than 15 seconds to go. Instead of calling timeout, Bethany rushed the ball up the floor and junior point guard Caelyn DiSanti (Tarentum, Pa./North Catholic) found Cartland wide open underneath. The 6-0 forward finished the lay-up and was fouled from behind. After she made the free throw, the Bison forced Westminster into a long three at the buzzer, which was off the mark.
Pacing Bethany to their fifth victory in a row, their longest winning streak since an 18-game string during the Bison’s last PAC Championship season of 2003-04, was Harris with 13 points and nine rebounds. Cartland’s game-winner gave her double figures with 12, while DiSanti totaled three points, four assists and five rebounds.
Westminster’s Emilee Ackerman, the nation’s third-leading scorer (22.5), led all scorers with 20 markers and also pulled down nine boards, while Dolsak had 13.
Wednesday’s win also makes Saturday’s regular season finale with Washington & Jefferson (18-6) a very intriguing game. Both teams are 10-3 in the PAC entering the tilt, which means the winner will be the second seed heading into next week’s PAC Tournament. Tip-off at Hummel Field House Saturday is set for 2 p.m.