Jan. 15 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team will try to maintain their second place position in the PAC Wednesday when they go to Chatham (Pa.) University Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
The Bison (7-6, 3-1) moved into second place in the league Saturday with a 56-47 victory at Grove City (Pa.) College. After trailing by as many as six in the second half, BC went on a 12-1 run to take the lead, then used an 8-0 spurt late in the contest to put the game away. Junior Susannah Cartland (Harvard, Ill.) came off the bench to score a team-high 12, while senior Lisa Mitchell (Burgettstown, Pa./Avella) scored 11, as the Bison won their third in a row overall and against PAC opponents.
Although Bethany still has their conference winning streak intact, their overall victory run was stopped Monday in a 71-68 non-league setback at Carnegie Mellon (Pa.) University. The Bison cut a nine-point deficit with 2:25 left down to one in the closing seconds, but the Tartans hit two free throws and a BC three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark, allowing Carnegie Mellon to hold on for the win. Junior guard Kaitlyn McCormick (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) was a key figure in BC’s reserves outscoring Carnegie Mellon’s 32-9, as she totaled 15, while freshman Kelly Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) notched 14 markers, six rebounds and six steals.
The Bison bench has continued its outstanding play since 2008 began, with McCormick and Cartland leading the way. In the last three games, BC’s subs have outscored the opponents by an average of 37-11, with Cartland, a 6-0 forward, averaging 13.7 points and 5.3 rebounds while also shooting 70 percent (16-23) from the floor. McCormick’s recent strong play dates back to the first semester, as in the last five contests, the 5-7 guard is hitting 51 percent (21-41) from the field and 80 percent from the foul line (16-20). Overall, she is totaling 11.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals during this stretch.
McCormick’s defensive efforts have also helped the Bison step up on that end of the floor. In the last three games, BC is forcing 31.7 turnovers per game and the Green and White is now second in the league in forcing miscues with 24.9 per contest. Bison players are proving to be very light-fingered on the court, as they now stand second in the PAC in steals with 12.5 a contest. Bethany’s freshmen twins lead the team’s pilfering, as Stacy Goode is ranked fourth in the circuit with 2.92 thefts per game and Kelly Goode jumped to sixth (2.46) following her six-steal effort Monday night.
Wednesday will be the first time Bethany and Chatham have faced as PAC rivals, since the Cougars officially joined the league this past fall. The teams have played six previous times, with the Bison winning all six decisions. The last time the teams squared off on the hardwood was last year, when BC went to Pittsburgh and came away with a 63-38 triumph. Four players scored in double figures for Bethany, who held a 50-29 advantage on the glass and limited Chatham to 28 percent shooting (15-53).
While the Cougars are 4-7 overall and 1-3 in the PAC, they have been a tough team to face in their first year in the league. Their three conference losses have come by an average of 5.7 points, which includes a 79-74 loss at Westminster Saturday. The Cougars led by one with 42 seconds to play, but Westminster went 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final seconds to rally for the win. Leading five scorers in double digits was Lizz King, who came off the bench to score a team-high 13, while Barb Petty had 12 points and six assists.
The Cougars are led by their freshmen Petty and King, who are both 5-8 guard-forwards. Petty is averaging 9.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game, while King is also scoring 9.3 points per contest and is the squad’s top three-point threat with 21 triples. Chatham’s main threat inside is 6-1 junior forward Allason Holt, who is scoring 8.3 points per game and is ranked in the PAC in rebounding (eighth with 7.7) and blocked shots (second at 1.92).