Feb. 22 – BETHANY, W. Va. – After finishing the regular season with an 8-10 conference record, the Bethany College women’s basketball team will host a conference playoff game for the first time since the 2011-12 season when they host the Titans of Westminster College on Monday evening. Full game notes can be seen below.
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The Bison: The Green & White finished off the regular season by capturing the sixth-seed in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Tournament. Under the new playoff format, the Bison will host Westminster in the first round in the six-seven matchup.
Bethany comes into the game having dropped their previous three contests, all by single digits, including two conference losses to Grove City (70-64) and Washington & Jefferson (67-60) last week. Despite the losses, the Green & White still put together their best season since the 2011-12 campaign.
In their contest against Grove City last week, junior Mikyla Tipton and freshman Kelsea Daugherty carried the offensive load for Bethany. Tipton notched 21 points, coming just one point shy of her career high while adding eight rebounds. Daugherty, meanwhile, posted her tenth double-double of the season, totaling 14 points and 14 boards. The Bison shot over 40 percent for the contest, but fell prey to 25 team turnovers in the contest.
In the team’s final game of the regular season, the Bison played tight wire-to-wire, but ultimately fell by seven to W&J. Daugherty once again led the way with a double-double (20 points/10 rebounds) while Tipton and sophomore Hayley Holenka finished with 14 points, each.
The Bison finished the regular season ranked fifth in the PAC in both scoring offense (68.7) and scoring margin (-2.4), while allowing opponents to score 71.1 points per night. A solid shooting team, the Green & White ranked fourth in the conference in both field goal percentage (.386) and three-point percentage (.316).
Individually, Daugherty was the driving force on the year, finishing the regular season ranked fifth in the conference in points per game (16.4) while averaging 8.8 rebounds per night, ranking third. Other scoring leaders for the Bison included Holenka (11.4) and Tipton (10.5), who each finished in the top 20 in the conference in points per game.
The Titans: Westminster captured the seventh seed in the PAC playoffs by splitting a pair of games last week. The Titans fell to W&J 63-60 before defeating Geneva 52-46 on the road on Saturday.
In the loss to W&J on Wednesday, Paige Quinn and Allison Borts led the Titans offensively, scoring 12 points apiece. As a team, Westminster shot just 31 percent from the field in the game, while turning the ball over 21 times.
In the victory over Geneva, Westminster turned on the defensive intensity, forcing 21 Golden Tornado turnovers while holding Geneva to 26 percent shooting from the field. Individually in the win, Borts led the way, notching a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Rachel Durbin also scored in double figures, finishing with 11.
Over the course of the 2014-15 regular season, Westminster was the conference’s worst scoring offense, finishing the year averaging 54.5 points per game. The team also tied for seventh in the PAC in scoring margin (-14.6) allowing opponents to score 69.1 points per contest.
Individually, Borts has been the Titans’ most consistent performer, ranking 12th in the PAC in points per game (11.5). Durbin finished the year as the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 8.1 points per night.
Season Series: During the 2014-15 season, the Bison and Titans split their two meetings, with each team holding serve on their home court. Westminster captured the first meeting between the two programs in New Wilmington, winning by a score of 62-53 on January 14. In that game, the Bison were their own worst enemy, committing 15 turnovers, while shooting 8-of-20 from the free-throw line. Three different players scored in double figures for Westminster, led by a double-double from Borts (18 points/11 rebounds) while the Bison were led by Daugherty (15 points/15 boards) and junior Gabrielle Naples, who finished with 13 points.
In the second contest between the two teams, the Bison exacted their revenge, defeating Westminster 67-49 in Bethany. In the win, the Green & White posted a season-high 20 steals, forcing Westminster into 24 turnovers. Junior Sami Schott led the way offensively with 17 points, while Daugherty (13) and Tipton (10) each finished in double figures.
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 16.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
Five times during the regular season, Daugherty was honored by the Eastern College Athletic Conference, which included four ECAC DIII Southwest Region Rookie of the Week awards, and one Player of the Week honor. Daugherty amassed 11 double-doubles on the year, which ranked first in the PAC at the conclusion of the regular season.
Along with her 11 double-doubles, Daugherty totaled nine, 20-point performances, and became the first player since Jenny Place in 2005-06 to reach the 400-point plateau for the season. Daugherty’s 16.4 points per game is 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: In order for the Bison to be successful on Monday, the Green & White need to impose their will in the rebounding game. The Bison finished the 2014-15 regular season ranked second in the PAC in rebounding margin (+4.4) while Westminster ranks sixth, having broke even on the year.
As a team, the Bison rank second in the conference in defensive rebounds per game (29.1), while also ranking third in offensive boards per night (15.2).
Individually, four different Bison rank in the top 20 in rebounds per game, led by Daugherty’s 8.8. Daugherty also ranked first in the PAC in offensive rebounds per game, averaging 3.8 per night.
PAC Playoff Picture: In the new look format for the PAC playoffs, two games will be played on Monday which include #6 Bethany vs. #7 Westminster, as well as #5 Grove City vs. #8 Thiel. The winner of the Bison and Titans will travel to take on #4 Washington & Jefferson while the victor between the Wolverines and Tomcats will travel to Waynesburg to take on the third-seeded Yellow Jackets. Both quarter-final contests will be played on Wednesday, February 25.
The winners of the two quarterfinal contests will travel to Thomas More College for the PAC semifinals which will take place on Friday, February 27. Both Thomas More, as well as the second-seeded Bearcats of Saint Vincent have already earned byes into the semifinal round.