Feb. 4 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Trailing by 18 points early in the second half, the Bethany College women’s basketball team unleashed a 29-3 blitz against visiting Washington & Jefferson and went on to post a 68-60 victory over the Presidents Saturday.
The victory gives the Bison a 13-8 overall record and a 9-5 mark in the PAC, while W&J slips to 10-11 and 5-9 in the conference.
Three-pointers by senior Anne Wilson (Saegertown, Pa./Cambridge Springs) and sophomore Skylar Williams (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) gave the Green and White an 8-2 lead to start the game. The Presidents answered back by scoring 20 of the next 26 points to take a 22-14 advantage. The visitors kept expanding their lead, which swelled to as large as 36-20 following back-to-back-hoops by Blair Cotton, the second of which was a three-pointer.
Bethany was able to chip into the lead before the break on consecutive treys by senior Renee Shepherd (New Martinsville, W.Va./Magnolia) and the W&J margin was 38-26 going into intermission. The Bison shot only 31 percent in the first half and had nine turnovers turned into 12 points by the Presidents, who were led by Ashley Kirkpatrick with 14 at the break.
A quick six-point burst by W&J, capped by a Kirkpatrick lay-in, gave the Presidents their largest lead of the day at 46-28 with 16:56 to play. The game-changing run started innocently enough with a lay-up from sophomore point guard Ty Harris (Wintersville, Ohio/Indian Creek), but the fuel to the Bison charge was their effort on the glass. As BC outscored their guests 29-3 over the next eight minutes, they grabbed eight offensive rebounds, which led to 12 second-chance points. When Harris capped the run with a pair of free throws, Bethany had transformed the 18-point deficit into a 57-49 lead with 8:15 to play.
The Presidents snapped out of their cold spell briefly to get a lay-up from Vanessa Rivera and two foul shots by Kirkpatrick to get within four. But the Green and White answered right back with a score from junior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) and a triple from senior Audra Droginske (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) to swell the cushion to 62-53.
W&J made one more run, firing in six straight points to move within three at 62-59, but a Taormina lay-up, as well as two foul shots from Shepherd and Droginske each in the final 19 seconds, sealed the victory.
Droginske hit for 10 of her 15 points in the second half to aid in the comeback, while Shepherd matched her with 15 markers and grabbed 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Taormina turned in her third double-double of the campaign with 10 points and 10 rebounds, in addition to adding a team-leading five assists.
Kirkpatrick paced the W&J attack with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Also reaching double digits was Cotton with 13 and Alexa DelGreco with a dozen.
Now with a full two-game lead on Westminster for fourth place in the PAC standings, the Bison will try to start chasing down the team directly in front of them. Bethany will journey to Waynesburg Wednesday night for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off against the Yellow Jackets (16-5, 11-3), who knocked off PAC co-leader Saint Vincent Saturday 74-66.