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Women's Basketball Aims to Get Back on Track at W&J

Feb. 20 - BETHANY, W. Va. - The Bethany College women's basketball team will look to finish the regular season at .500 in conference play when they travel to Washington, Pa. to take on Washington & Jefferson College. Full game notes are listed below.

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Playoff Implications: With just one game to go in the PAC regular season, the Bison have secured a first-round home game by locking down the sixth seed in the newly formed Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championship Tournament. Bethany, however, could still get to the fifth seed with a win over the Presidents, coupled with Grove City loss to Thiel College on Saturday.

The Bison’s opponent has yet to be decided, as three-different seeds are vying for the last two spots in the conference championship. Thiel College, Westminster and Chatham are all looking to crack the top eight which would mean a first-round game on Monday.

Both Grove City and the Bison have secured home games for Monday’s contests with the winner of each game moving on the semifinal to taken on Washington & Jefferson and Waynesburg in the quarterfinals.

The Bison: The Bison enter Saturday’s contest with Washington & Jefferson having dropped their last two games by a total of eight points. The Green & White are 5-4 in their last nine games but most recently dropped a 70-64 decision to Grove City College in their final regular season home game of the year.

In Bethany’s defeat at the hands of the Wolverines, both teams played a tightly contested game, with neither team holding more than an eight-point advantage throughout the entirety of the contest.

In the loss, the Bison were led by junior Mikyla Tipton who came just one point shy of her career high with 21 points on an efficient 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Freshman Kelsea Daugherty also played well in the game, totaling her 11th double-double of the season, notching 14 points and 14 rebounds. Junior Sami Schott scored eight points in the loss, while sophomore Hayley Holenka totaled six points and eight rebounds.

On the season, the Green & White are scoring 69.1 points per game while allowing their opponents to score at a 71.3 point per game clip. The Bison are shooting .389 as a team, good for fourth in the conference and rank second in the PAC in total rebounds per game (43.9).

Individually, Daugherty has been the leader for the Bethany, ranking third in the conference in rebounds (8.8) and fifth in the PAC in points per contest, scoring 16.2 points per night.

Two other players are averaging double figures for the Bison this season. Holenka currently ranks 13th in the conference, averaging 11.3, while Tipton is scoring 10.3 per contest.

The Presidents: Washington & Jefferson comes into the contest currently in possession of the conference’s third-seed in the upcoming PAC Championship Tournament. The Presidents hold a one-game advantage on fourth-place Waynesburg thanks to a 63-60 win over Westminster on Wednesday evening.

In the win over the Titans, junior Beka Bellhy led the Presidents in scoring for the fifth game in a row, notching 18. Senior Valerie Dunlap posted a double-double in the win, finishing with 12 points and 14 rebounds, while Taylor Cortazzo also finished in double figures with 11.

As a team, Washington & Jefferson enters the final game of the regular season ranked third in the PAC in scoring offense (71.8), fourth in scoring defense (64.5) and third in scoring margin (+7.3). The Presidents are also third in the PAC in field goal percentage (.410) and rank second in field goal percentage defense (.354).

Individually, W&J has been led this season by Bellhy and Dunlap. Bellhy ranks fourth in the conference in points per game (17.0) while Dunlap is the only player in the conference to be averaging a double-double, scoring 11.1 points and adding 10.8 rebounds per night.

Previous Meeting:  In the two team’s previous meeting, the Presidents’ earned a 90-72 victory over the Bison in Bethany. The Green & White were led in the game by Holenka, who notched 16 points. Schott finished with 12, while sophomore Lauren Simpson added 11 off the bench, As a team, the Bison shared the ball well, capturing 20 assists in the contest, led by sophomore Alexis Naples’ seven.

For Washington & Jefferson, five different Presidents scored in double figures, led by a season-high 24 points by Taylor Cortazzo. Dunlap posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 boards. Alexa DelGrecco (13), Amirah Moore (12) and Erin Lavery (11) all also finished with over 10 points.

Double-Double Daugherty: Kelsea Daugherty has made a name for herself in her first season in a Bison uniform. Since the start of the PAC regular season, the freshman forward has started in every game, and is now averaging 16.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Five times this season, Daugherty has been honored by the Eastern College Athletic Conference, which has included four ECAC DIII Southwest Region Rookie of the Week awards, and one Player of the Week honor. Daugherty has currently amassed 10 double-doubles on the year, which is tied for the conference lead with Valerie Dunlap.

Along with her 10 double-doubles, Daugherty has totaled eight, 20-point performances, and currently sits just 11 points shy of breaking the 400-point plateau for the season. If her scoring numbers hold up, Daugherty’s 16.1 points per game will be the highest point total by a Bison freshman since Rosanne Scott totaled 15.2 points per night as the PAC’s scoring champion during the 1996-97 campaign.

Hitting the Glass: The Bison have done well on the boards this season, currently ranking third in the PAC in rebounding margin (+3.5). The Green & White also rank second in the PAC in both offensive (15.0) and defensive (28.5) rebounds per game. 

Bethany does a nice job of rebounding by committee, as three different starters, and four players overall, rank in the top 20 in the PAC in rebounds per game. Daugherty comes in ranked fourth (8.4) while Schott (14th - 5.9), Holenka and Gabrielle Naples (18th – 4.9) all rank in the top 20. Daugherty also comes into the contest as the PAC’s top offensive rebounder, averaging 3.7 per game.

Saturday, the Bison will be charged with keeping Dunlap off the glass, as she ranks first in the PAC in rebounds per game with 10.8. As a team, the Presidents also perform well on the glass, ranking fourth in rebounding margin (+2.5).