Jan. 2 – PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team got their offense rolling early and often as the Bison outlasted Chatham University, 88-80, on Saturday afternoon in Presidents’ Athletic Conference action. The 88 points scored marked the most by the Green & White so far in the 2015-16 season.
The Bison started the game off on the right foot, posting 22 first quarter points while never trailing in the opening frame. The largest lead of the quarter came with 3:11 remaining as free throws by Alexis Naples (Salem, Ohio/South Range) gave Bethany a 16-10 advantage.
The teams would exchange buckets over the reminder of the first quarter with Chatham inching closer. The quarter would end with the Bison holding a three-point lead, 22-19.
Chatham would take their first lead of the game on a jumper by Lynnae Whitehead at the 8:23 mark of the second quarter, pulling the hosts ahead, 24-23. Following a bucket by Gabrielle Naples (Salem, Ohio/South Range), Chatham would notch their biggest run of the game.
A 10-2 swing in the home team’s favor would give the Cougars a seven-point advantage (34-27) with 5:35 to play in the half.
Bethany would immediately respond with a 13-2 run of their own, turning a one-point hole into a four-point lead. Hayley Holenka (Shadyside, Ohio/Shadyside) knocked down one of her three triples on the day to cut the lead to four points. She and senior Mikyla Tipton (Wellsville, Ohio/Wellsville) would combine for 12 of the team’s 13 points during the run.
The team’s continued to trade blows like prize fighters in the late stages of the half. The quarter saw two more ties before back-to-back baskets by Sami Schott (Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah) and Ashley Duthie (Madison, Ohio/Madison) helped the Bison take a two-point lead into the break, 46-44.
Bethany controlled the boards during the first half, outrebounding the Cougars 34-18 over the first two quarters, leading to 18 second-chance points.
The third quarter would prove to be more of the same, with the team’s playing neck-and-neck throughout. Bethany came out of the gates hot, knocking down their first three shots to take an eight-point lead (52-44). Tipton scored the first bucket of the half, before Schott knocked down back-to-back baskets.
Chatham would respond in kind, going on a 18-5 run of their own, retaking a five-point advantage (62-57) on a jumper by Katelyn Sieg with 2:49 to go.
Holenka would knock down the next basket of the game, before a three-point basket by sophomore Kelsi Settle (Sebring, Ohio/Sebring) brought the contest to its sixth tie, 62-62, which is where the quarter would end.
The Green & White would earn their third conference victory of the season in the pivotal fourth quarter, outscoring Chatham 26-18 in the frame.
The decisive run came early in the frame with the hosts holding a one-point advantage (65-64) with 9:30 to play. The Bison would put together a 7-0 run to take a six-point lead, and never again trailed. Holenka gave Bethany the lead with her third, and final, three of the night, before baskets by Tipton and Gabrielle Naples pushed the Green & White’s lead to 71-65.
The advantage would shrink to as little as two points (71-69) before swelling to an eight-point lead (77-69) on a jumper by Duthie with 3:36 to play.
Down the stretch, the Bison would turn in solid work on the defensive side, as well as knock down 5-of-6 from the free-throw line to grow the lead to double-digits before settling for the eight-point victory.
The effort from the Bison was evident all game as Bethany turned in season highs in points, rebounds (71), offensive rebounds (28) and made free throws (22). The team’s 71 boards were the most by the Bison since they tallied 77 In a home win over the Cougars last season.
The starting five for the Bison were the difference as the starters outscored Chatham’s starting rotation by a score of 69-57. Holenka led the way, putting together her third-career double-double. She notched 20+ points for the second time this year, finishing with a team-high 21. Tipton also posted a double-double, notching 18 points and tying a career-high with 13 rebounds.
Starting in her first game of the season, Schott played well, finishing with 15 points and nine rebounds. It marked the third-straight game in which Schott has tallied double figures.
Alexis and Gabrielle Naples each played well in the game, producing solid, all-around numbers. Alexis Naples finished with seven points, adding a career-high 11 rebounds, while Gabrielle Naples tallied eight points, seven rebounds and a career-best eight assists.
Bethany, which has started 3-1 in conference play for the second-straight year, will be back in action on Wednesday, January 6, as they continue PAC action against defending National Champions, Thomas More College. Tipoff is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start and can be watched online at www.pacstream.net.