BETHANY SET TO HOST FIRST PLACE WAYNESBURG SATURDAY
Jan. 6 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team plays its first home game of the new year Saturday, and it will be a stiff test for the Bison as they host first place Waynesburg in a 2 p.m. tip-off at Hummel Field House.
The Bison (7-5, 3-2) had their three-game winning streak stopped Wednesday night with a 75-59 defeat at Washington & Jefferson. The Green and White trailed by only one at halftime, but shot just 25 percent from the floor in the second half and committed 22 turnovers for the game. Senior Anne Wilson (Saegertown, Pa./Cambridge Springs) posted a team-leading 16 points and junior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) recorded 14 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Senior Renee Shepherd (New Martinsville, W.Va./Magnolia) turned in another solid game and she continues a strong final campaign. She fell just short of a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds, which snapped a string of four straight games with double-digit points. Shepherd has earned All-Tournament Team honors at the two tourneys the Bison have played in this season and in the last five games, she is averaging 8.8 points and 6.2 rebounds.
Although the Bison went to the foul line more than W&J Wednesday night (30-21), Bethany has had a problem keeping their opponents off the charity stripe. The Green and White have put foes at the line 230 times this season, an average of 19.2 free throws per game, which is the second-most in the league ahead of only W&J (250). When the Bison get to the line, they continue to take advantage. Led by seniors Audra Droginske (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central), who is shooting 90.5 percent, and Wilson, who is making 80.6 percent, the Bison are ranked third in the PAC as a team (71.9).
The recent history between Bethany and Waynesburg has been very even. The teams have split the last six regular season meetings against each other, including last year when each side won on the other’s home floor. In last year’s game on BC’s floor, Bethany scored just 15 first-half points and couldn’t recover in a 60-49 defeat. In the rematch at Waynesburg, Taormina had 17 points and 10 rebounds and the Bison used a massive rebounding advantage (47-23) to claim a 63-59 triumph.
Waynesburg, who finished third in the league last year and then won the ECAC Championship, is off to one of its better starts in recent memory, as the Yellow Jackets are 10-2 overall and a perfect 5-0 in the PAC. On Wednesday, they pulled off a bit of a surprise with a 59-53 victory at Saint Vincent. Waynesburg held SVC to 27 percent shooting and led by as many as 12 in snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Bearcats. Point guard Hannah Hunter made a run at a triple-double with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists and Brittany Spencer scored 10 points and hauled down a career-best 18 rebounds.
The Yellow Jackets are 4-0 on the road this year and their only two setbacks came just after Thanksgiving at the Mount Union Tournament to Heidelberg and Allegheny. Waynesburg takes care of business on both ends of the floor. In addition to leading the PAC in scoring (69.6), they are also allowing the fewest points in the conference (52.8) and holding teams to 33.9 percent shooting from the floor, the best in the league. The Bison offense, which has been held under 60 points just three times this season, will be challenged by the Yellow Jacket defense, which has allowed only three opponents to surpass 60 points in a game.
Waynesburg’s attack is engineered by their senior point guard Hunter, who was the PAC Player of the Week last week. She is scoring 11.3 points per game, but is the PAC leader in assists (5.67) and is tied for second in steals (3.0). Junior guard Jessie Drayer is the team’s top scorer and ranks third in the circuit with 14.5 points a contest. Also averaging double digits is Brittany Spencer and Elaine Hasek with 10.2 points per game and Spencer is one of the top rebounder in the PAC with 7.4 caroms per game.