Feb. 11 – BETHANY, W. Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team (12-10, 8-7 PAC) used a solid defensive effort, including a season-best 20 steals, to defeat the Titans of Westminster College, 67-49, on Wednesday evening.
Neither team could get an offensive flow going through the first eight minutes of the opening half, as the team’s found themselves deadlocked at 8-8 with 11:55 to play in the stanza.
The Green & White then opened a ten-point advantage over the next four minutes of play, breaking out on a 10-0 run to capture an 18-8 lead with 7:57 to play in the half. Gabrielle Naples (Salem, Ohio/South Range) contributed four points to the run, which was bolstered by a three-point basket from Mytia Barker (Wintersville, Ohio/Steubenville).
After a basket by the Titans cut the Bison advantage back to single digits, the Green & White put together another solid run. Six points apiece from Sami Schott (Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah) and Mikyla Tipton (Wellsville, Ohio/Wellsville) helped Bethany to a 12-2 run, giving the Bison a 30-12 lead with 4:07 to play. Bethany would extend the lead to as many as 20 before settling with a 16-point halftime advantage (37-21).
Bethany used a great defensive output in the first half to hold Westminster to just 21 points on 29 percent shooting from the field. The Green & White forced 10 Titan turnovers in the frame, registering 10 steals in the process.
Schott opened the second half with a three from the top of the key, and the Bison cruised ahead in the closing stanza. The largest lead of the game for Bethany came on a pair of free throws by Lauren Simpson (Washington, Pa./Trinity). The conversions from the charity stripe gave the Bison a 60-34 advantage with 9:33 to play in the contest.
The Bethany lead would get back below 20 points in the final minute of regulation, but the Bison walked away with an 18-point victory, 67-49.
Defense was the name of the game for the Bison in the victory as the Green & White held Westminster to just 34 percent shooting from the field over the course of the contest. Bethany also forced 24 Titan turnovers, finishing the game with 20 steals. The steals total marked the most by a Bison team since Bethany posted 21 against Grove City College on January 10, 2009.
Offensively, the Bison were led by Schott who finished with a game-high 17 points. She also added eight rebounds and two steals. Despite playing just 13 minutes, freshman Kelsea Daugherty (Newport, Ohio/Frontier) totaled 13 points, while Tipton totaled 10. Barker notched a career high seven points, while Gabrielle Naples finished with six points, six rebounds and three steals.
Alexis Naples (Salem, Ohio/South Range) and Hayley Holenka (Shadyside, Ohio/Shadyside) each played very well defensively, both contributing five steals to the team total.
Under the new Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championship format, the Bison have secured for themselves at least a first-round home game with the victory today. Bethany currently sits as the conference’s fifth-seed, but could get to as high as fourth and earn a first-round bye before the end of the season.
Bethany will be back in action on Saturday, February 14, when they host Waynesburg University in a pivotal PAC showdown. The contest will also serve as senior day for the Bison women. Game time is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.