Feb. 17 – BETHANY, W. Va. – Heading into the final week of 2014-15, the Bethany College women’s basketball team (12-11, 8-8) will look to secure a winning regular-season record for the first time since 2011-12 when they host Grove City College on Wednesday evening. Full game notes can be viewed below.
Playoff Implications: With just one week remaining in the regular season, the Bison and Wolverines are tied for fifth in the conference standings with an 8-8 record. Both teams have secured a first-round home game next Monday due to their four-game advantage on Thiel College.
A Bethany victory on Wednesday would secure the fifth-seed for the Bison no matter what happens on Saturday, as the Green & White would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Wolverines (2-0).
If Grove City wins, the tiebreaker would not be decided by head-to-head record, rather by record versus higher ranked opponents in the PAC. Currently Grove City has the edge in that department thanks to a victory over Waynesburg early in the season. However, a Bison win Saturday over Washington & Jefferson, coupled with a Wolverine loss to Thiel would once again sway the fifth-seed to Bethany, even with a loss on Wednesday.
The Bison: The Green & White enter the final week of the regular season having split a pair of games last week. The Bison first defeated Westminster College (69-47), before falling to Waynesburg University, 69-67.
In Wednesday’s victory over the Titans, the Bison used a solid defensive effort to frustrate the Westminster offense throughout the entire contest. The Bison generated 10 steals in each half, to post a season-high 20 for the game. The Green & White also held the Titans to 29 percent shooting in the first half and 34 percent through the entirety of the contest.
Offensively, three different Bison scored in double figures, including junior Sami Schott, who posted a game-high 17 points and eight rebounds.
Defensively, the Bison saw eight different players record at least one steal, led by sophomores Alexis Naples and Hayley Holenka who totaled five, each.
In the contest against Waynesburg, neither program posted more than an eight-point advantage through the entirety of the contest.
The Bison found themselves down by eight (69-61) with just under two minutes to play, but a furious comeback had the Green & White down just two with possession of the ball and eight seconds to play. However, the ensuing offensive possession was fruitless, and the Bison fell by two.
In the contest, Sophomore Hayley Holenka and freshman Kelsea Daugherty each posted a double-double. Holenka finished with 15 points and a career-high 13 boards, while Daugherty totaled 19 points and 11 rebounds.
With two games remaining in the regular season, the Bison rank fifth in the PAC in scoring offense (69.3) and scoring margin (-2.0). The Green & White currently rank fourth in the conference in offensive shooting percentage (.389), and enter the game fourth in the PAC in three-point percentage (.326).
Individually, Daugherty has led the Bison, ranking fifth in the conference in points per game (16.3), while also averaging 8.5 rebounds per game, which ranks her fourth. Holenka currently sits 12th in the PAC in scoring average (11.5) while junior Mikyla Tipton is scoring 9.9 points per game.
The Wolverines: Grove City comes into Wednesday’s contest having split their games last week. The Wolverines upended Chatham University (61-53) before falling to Saint Vincent College, 72-48. Kathryn Erbelding led Grove City in both contests, scoring 13 points against the Cougars, and posting a double-double (20 points/11 rebounds) against the Bearcats.
This year, Grove City currently ranks eighth in the conference in scoring (58.2), but comes into the game with the league’s third-best defense (63.7). Individually, The Wolverines have been paced by Erbelding who comes into the game ranked seventh in the PAC in points per game (14.7). She also ranks first on the team and fifth in the conference in rebounds per night (8.0).
Previous Meeting: In the Bison’s previous meeting with Grove City, Daugherty led the way in a two-point Bethany victory, 68-66. The game saw nine ties and 12 lead changes throughout the contest, with neither team holding more than an eight-point advantage.
Offensively, the Green & White were led by 26 points and 15 rebounds from the freshman forward, both of which were career highs at the time. Two other players for the Bison scored in double figures as Sami Schott finished with 11 and Tipton, 10.
For the Wolverines, four-different players reached double digits, paced by Erbelding’s 19 point, eight rebound performance. Teresa Dellatore, Lexie Arkwright and Kelsey Shirey all finished with 11 for Grove City.
Double-Double Daugherty: Daugherty has arrived on the scene for the Bison, starting in every game for the Bison since the PAC regular season schedule had commenced. Over her last 18 games, the freshman has been on a tare, and is now averaging 16.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
During the course of the season, Daugherty has put together a plethora of stellar performances, and is currently tied for the conference lead in double-doubles with nine. She has also posted eight 20-point performances on the year which currently ranks fourth in the PAC.
Daugherty is currently just 25 points away from 400 on the year, which would make her the first Bison since Jenny Place in 2005-06 to accomplish the feat. Her 16.3 points per game would also be the highest scoring average by a Bison freshman since Bison Hall of Fame Inductee Rosanne Scott averaged 15.2 points per contest as the PAC’s scoring champion during the 1996-97 campaign.
Manage the Game: For the Bison to come out on top on Wednesday, the Green & White will need to focus on limiting turnovers. Bethany is currently 10-1 on the year when the team posts an assist/turnover ratio of higher than +1.0. Inversely, when Bethany posts a ratio of 1.0 or lower, the Bison are 2-10.
Wednesday, the Bison will compete against a Grove City squad that ranks third in the PAC in steals per game (10.8). The Wolverines also boast two players in the top five in steals per contest (Erbelding - 3.3; Arkwright - 2.5).
Sophomore point guard Alexis Naples is key to how well the Green & White fair in the turnover battle. Naples currently ranks second in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference in assists per game (4.0) and sits fifth in the PAC and 14th in all of Division III in assist/turnover ratio with a +2.42.