Nov. 11 - GREENVILLE, Pa. - The Bethany College women’s basketball team was picked to finish seventh in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Preseason Coaches' Poll released by the league on Friday.
After finishing 8-18 overall (6-12 PAC) last season, the Bison received 37 points in the poll voted on by the league's coaches.
The Green and White enter a new era under first-year Head Coach Brian Sansom. Sansom came to Bethany after spending last season as an assistant at Division I Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. Before his time at FDU, he served on staff for Montclair State (N.J.) for four seasons, where the Redhawks won three New Jersey Athletic Conference titles.
Sansom has used his wealth of knowledge and experience to implement a winning attitude for the Bison.
“We’ve learned a lot about each other so far," Sansom said. "We respect the little victories we get each day and have built on those so far."
Sansom inherits a young team that returns four players who started at least 10 games last season. Guard Hayley Holenka (Shadyside, Ohio/Shadyside) is the lone senior on the team and was named a "Player to Watch" in the PAC after starting all 26 games last season. She led the Bison with 14.1 points per game (ppg), which ranked seventh in the PAC.
Junior forward Kelsea Daugherty (Newport, Ohio/Frontier) and sophomore guard Ashley Duthie (Madison, Ohio/Madison) were also dubbed "Players to Watch" in the PAC. In 2015-16, Daugherty finished second on the team with 13.4 ppg. and led the Bison with 7.8 rebounds per game (rpg.) while Duthie appeared in all 26 games as a freshman, averaging 5.9ppg and 2.2 assists per game. Junior forward Kelsi Settle (Sebring, Ohio/Sebring) is back after seeing action in all 26 contests last year, averaging 4.2 ppg.
Holenka, Daugherty, and Settle will serve as Sansom’s captains for his first season at the helm.
“All three of them are very different in how they lead," he added. "But they complement each other well."
The first-year decision maker also welcomes four-time All-PAC volleyball player Dakota McKenzie (Hopewell, Ohio / West Muskingum) into the fold. The 6-3 forward joins the basketball team after a prolific four-year career, most recently helping lead the Bison to their first ever PAC Title and NCAA Tournament appearance.
Sansom hopes Bethany fans enjoy the brand of basketball they’ll see at the Hummel Field House this season.
“I want to see a team that is energized and is having fun," he said. "We want fans to come in and see the growth of the team.”
Bethany opens the season on Wednesday, Nov. 16 when they travel to Franciscan, with a 6 p.m. tip slated. The team will play its first home game on Tuesday, November 22 when the Bison host Kenyon at 5 p.m.
|2016-17 PAC Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll|
|School (first-place votes)||Points||2015-16 Record (PAC)|
|1. Thomas More College (9)||99||33-0 (18-0)|
|2. Washington & Jefferson College (1)||88||24-6 (16-2)|
|3. Saint Vincent College||79||15-13 (8-10)|
|4. Waynesburg University||70||15-14 (11-7)|
|5. Grove City College||60||13-13 (11-7)|
|6. Chatham University||41||11-16 (6-12)|
|7. Bethany College||37||8-18 (6-12)|
|8. Geneva College||35||9-17 (6-12)|
|9. Westminster College||26||4-21 (4-14)|
|10. Thiel College||15||4-21 (4-14)|