BETHANY TAKES ON PAC CO-LEADER THOMAS MORE WEDNESDAY
Jan. 31 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team will face a daunting task if it wants to extend its current winning streak, as the Bison travel to PAC co-leader Thomas More Wednesday night for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off.
The BC winning streak reached three games with a 77-67 victory at home Saturday over Chatham. After trailing by as many as 11 in the first half, Bethany (12-8, 8-4) came roaring back behind junior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley). She notched 19 of her career-high-tying 24 points in the second half and also posted seven rebounds and six assists. Other big contributors included senior Audra Droginske (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) with 15 points and senior Anne Wilson (Saegertown, Pa./Cambridge Springs) with a dozen.
Wilson continues a steady march towards a career milestone. Her output Saturday gave the point guard 963 career points, leaving her 37 away from becoming the 15th women’s player in BC history to reach 1,000. Wilson has been on a roll offensively as of late, averaging 13.2 points over the last nine contests and helping the Green and White post a 6-3 record over that stretch. For the season, she is second on the team with 10.7 points per game and ranks sixth in the PAC in assists (3.21), eighth in free throw percentage (76.3) and 10th in steals (1.79).
The Bison have been dominating on the glass during their current winning streak. In a rout over Geneva last Wednesday, BC out-rebounded the Golden Tornadoes 41-20 and Bethany continued its big efforts on the boards Saturday with a 47-32 advantage. Senior Katelynn Hackathorn (Valley Grove, W.Va./Wheeling Park) shouldered the load against Chatham with a season-best 13 rebounds. The Bison have been especially aggressive on the offensive glass, averaging 16.3 offensive caroms over the last three games.
Bethany has been out-rebounded only five times this season, but one of those came in the first meeting with Thomas More. In their initial meeting Dec. 10, the Saints held a 38-33 margin on the boards and also shot a scintillating 52 percent from the floor in taking an 83-64 decision at BC. The TMC backcourt duo of Katie Kitchen and Allison Long both scored 17 points. Bethany was paced by sophomore Taylor Verrico (Monaca, Pa./Quigley) with a career-high 14 off the bench and Taormina recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Thomas More (15-4, 11-1) is currently tied with Saint Vincent for the top spot in the league, although the Bearcats hold the tiebreaker after beating the Saints 68-65 on Jan. 14. Since that setback, TMC has won four straight by an average of 28.3 points per game. The most recent win was also fueled by their dynamic backcourt, as Kitchen and Long both had 19 in an 83-64 win at Washington & Jefferson. Forward Moriah Corey posted a double-double as well in the victory with 11 points and 10 boards.
The strength of the Saints attack, which leads the conference in scoring (70.5), lies in their potent guards. Kitchen ranks third in the PAC with 14.7 points per game and Long is close behind in fifth place with 13.8. Long is having a remarkable season, as she is the top three-point shooter in the league with 52 treys and is hitting at 46.8 percent. She is also fourth in assists (3.74) and field goal percentage (51.1).