Feb. 13 - BETHANY, W. Va. - The Bethany College women's basketball team will strive for their third-straight victory when they host Waynesburg University for senior day on Saturday. Full game notes can be viewed below.
Playoff Implications: With just three games remaining on both team’s schedules, the Bison and Yellow Jackets, along with Grove City, are all within striking distance of the fourth-seed, which would mean a first-round bye in the newly restructured Presidents’ Athletic Conference playoffs. Currently, Waynesburg (9-6) sits just one game ahead of both Bethany and Grove City, which are tied for fifth place at 8-7 in conference play. None of the teams can finish lower than sixth as all three hold at least a four-game lead on seventh-place Thiel with three games to play. The Bison have a solid chance to make a move as they host both the Yellow Jackets and the Wolverines in their next two contests.
The Bison: The Green & White enter Saturday’s contest with Waynesburg having posted wins in back-to-back games, including a 67-49 victory over Westminster on Wednesday. The Green & White are currently 8-7 in the PAC and currently possess a 12-10 overall record. The Bison are just one victory away from securing at least a .500 record for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
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. Despite playing just 13 minutes, due in large part to foul trouble in the first half, freshman Kelsea Daugherty still managed to produce 13 points. Junior Mikyla Tipton also played well, finishing the game with 10. Junior Gabrielle Naples also played a solid overall game, totaling six points, six rebounds and three steals.
Defensively, the Bison saw eight different players record at least one steal, led by sophomores Alexis Naples and Hayley Holenka who totaled five, each.
As a team, Bethany currently ranks fifth in the conference in points per game (69.4) while allowing opponents to score at a 71.5 point per game clip. The Bison rank third in the conference in rebounding margin (+3.5) while also ranking third in three-point percentage (.328).
Indivudally, Daugherty has led the way for the Bison this season, ranking fifth in the conference in points per game (16.2) and fourth in rebounds per contest (8.4). Other offensive leaders for Bethany include Holenka (11.3) and Tipton (9.7) who each rank in the top-20 in the conference.
Waynesburg: The Yellow Jackets enter the contest having won four of their last five conference games, which have included wins over Washington & Jefferson (77-76) and Thiel (80-59) in their last two contests. Waynesburg currently sits one game ahead of the Bison for fourth place in the conference standings (9-7), they also are coming into the game with a 12-10 overall record.
In Waynesburg’s last contest, the Yellow Jackets defeated Thiel College by 21 points in Greenville. Six different players scored at least six points in the game as Waynesburg shot 41.6 percent from the field. Rebecca Kerr led the way offensively, notching 23 points. She also totaled six steals in the contest, helping the Yellow Jackets force 25 Tomcat turnovers.
With three games remaining in the regular season, Waynesburg ranks fourth in the PAC in points per game (70.5) and are also fourth in the conference in scoring margin (-1.4). The Yellow Jackets are shooting .378 on the season, while allowing their opponents to shoot .382.
Individually, Waynesburg has been led this season by Kerr who is averaging 12.7 points per night. Other scoring leaders for the Yellow Jackets include Addy Knetzer (9.3) and Maura Bobby (7.9).
Previous Meeting: In the Bison’s previous meeting with the Yellow Jackets, Waynesburg held serve at home, defeating Bethany by a score of 73-65. In the game, neither team held a double digit lead at any point in the contest. The Green & White led by as many as five on multiple occasions, with Waynesburg’s largest lead being seven until the final seconds of the game.
In the contest, three players on each side scored in double figures. The Bison were led by a career-high 22 from Mikyla Tipton. Tipton shot 8-of-13 in the contest which included going 2-of-3 from behind the arc. Both Schott and Daugherty totaled double-doubles in the contest as well. Daugherty posted 15 points and 14 boards, while Schott finished with 11 points/13 rebounds.
For Waynesburg, Knetzer led the Yellow Jackets, posting a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds in a reserve role. Maura Bobby added 15, while Heather Davis chipped in with 10.
Hitting the Glass: The Bison have done well on the boards this season, currently ranking third in the PAC in rebounding margin (+3.5). The Green & White also rank second in the PAC in both offensive (15.0) and defensive (28.5) rebounds per game.
Bethany does a nice job of rebounding by committee, as three different starters, and four players overall, rank in the top 20 in the PAC in rebounds per game. Daugherty comes in ranked fourth (8.4) while Schott (14th - 5.9), Holenka and Gabrielle Naples (18th – 4.9) all rank in the top 20. Daugherty also comes into the contest as the PAC’s top offensive rebounder, averaging 3.7 per game.
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 2-9. 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.
New Look Playoff Format: With the regular season winding down, the Presidents’ Athletic Conference teams continue to jockey for position in the new PAC Playoff format. The Bison currently stand in fifth place, and if the standings hold, would host Westminster in an opening round playoff game.
This season, the top four seeds will receive a bye into the quarterfinals, with the top two seeds automatically reaching the PAC semis which will take place at the top seed’s home gym.