Feb. 23 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Despite shooting 30 percent for the game, the Bethany College women’s basketball team stayed close with Washington & Jefferson for more than a half, but their cold shooting would catch up to them, as the Presidents gradually pulled away for a 66-50 victory Saturday.
The loss drops the Bison (15-10, 10-4) to the third seed in next week’s PAC Tournament, while W&J (19-6, 11-3) will enter the league playoffs as the second seed.
The Presidents used their size inside to take an early 16-8 edge, but back-to-back jumpers by freshman guard Kelly Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) capped an 8-0 run that tied the game at 16. The rest of the half was tight, as BC moved in front 26-24 on a three from freshman guard Stacy Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami). However, a three-point play from W&J’s Maggie Gibson with 37 seconds left in the half gave the visitors a 27-26 lead at halftime.
Bethany would hit just 9-of-29 attempts from the floor (31 percent) in the first half, but Kelly Goode buried six of those field goals and scored 13 by the break. The inside tandem of Emily Hays (10) and Gibson (nine) combined for 19 markers by halftime to pace W&J.
The first five minutes of the second half had two lead changes and four ties, the last coming when Bethany junior Kaitlyn McCormick (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) hit a lay-up to even the score at 37 with 15 minutes to play. The Presidents would begin pulling away over the four minutes, as they scored 13 of the next 15 points to move on top by a 50-37 margin. The Bison managed to get within seven at 52-45, but the Presidents finished the game with a 14-5 run to clinch the second spot in the conference tourney.
BC had two scorers finish in double figures, led by Kelly Goode with 18. Freshman Tara Harris (Zanesville, Ohio) would tally 10 and also made four steals.
Hays spearheaded W&J’s offense with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Jen Rogers came off the bench for 14 and Gibson threw in 13.
With their best regular season in four years complete, the Bison will begin their chase for their first PAC title since 2003-04 on Tuesday. That’s when they’ll host sixth-seeded Grove City (10-15, 5-9), a team they defeated twice during the regular season, including a 68-60 triumph at Hummel Field House on Feb. 13. Tip-off for Tuesday’s PAC Quarterfinal is scheduled for 7 p.m.