Bethany Women Drop to 0-2 after 67-51 Loss to Denison
Nov. 17 -WILMINGTON, Ohio – The Bethany College women’s basketball team led by two points with over 12 minutes to play in the second half, but Denison used a 14-0 lead to seize control and go on to take a 67-51 victory over the Bison in Saturday’s consolation game of Wilmington (Ohio) College’s Hampton Inn/ Damon’s Tip-Off Tournament.
The Big Red (1-1) opened the game by scoring the first seven points and eventually built a 19-8 advantage with 12 minutes to play in the opening stanza. The Bison (0-2) roared back into the contest with a 15-2 burst that saw five different players score. Freshman Mikyla Tipton (right - Wellsville, Ohio) scored twice during the spurt and sophomore Monica Westheide (Zanesville, Ohio/Bishop Rosecran) had two buckets as well, including a lay-in to cap the run and give BC a 23-21 lead with 4:50 left in the first half.
Denison responded with six of the final eight points before the break and used a lay-up by Mary Margaret Habel with 20 seconds on the clock to take a 27-25 into intermission. Bethany overcame 33 percent shooting in the first half by holding a 27-16 rebounding advantage and scored eight second-chance points. The Big Red didn’t shoot much better (34.5 percent), but forced 10 Bethany turnovers.
The Big Red cashed in a three to begin the second half, but the Green and White used a 7-1 surge a few minutes later to regain the lead. Junior Taylor Verrico (Monaca, Pa./Quigley), who set a career-high for scoring in the game, drained a three to lift BC into a 36-35 lead. After the teams exchanged baskets, Tipton converted a traditional three-point play and the Bison forged a 41-39 advantage with 12:49 to play.
Unfortunately for Bethany, the offense went cold after that. The Bison managed just two free throws over the next six minutes and during that time, Denison ripped off 14 straight points, including seven in a row from Sarafina Nuzzo, to grab a 53-41 lead. Verrico knocked down three straight free throws around the five-minute mark to trim the Big Red lead to 58-49, but Bethany scored just two points the rest of the game and Denison pulled away to claim the victory.
Headlining the Bison effort was Verrico (right). She set career-highs with 16 points and eight rebounds and was named All-Tournament Team following the game. Also reaching double digits in the game was Tipton with 11 and she added seven boards and three steals. Westerheide chipped in with nine points off the bench and also had a team-leading three assists.
For Denison, Nuzzo led all scorers with 22 points, while Nicole Coggins, who was named All-Tournament Team, posted 11 points and four assists.
Bethany will be back in action Tuesday when it travels to Mount Union. The Purple Raiders were ranked sixth in the D3Hoops.com Preseason Top 25 poll and showed they were deserving of that lofty ranking by defeating the defending national champion Illinois Wesleyan in the season opener Friday night. Tip-off between Bethany and Mount Union Tuesday night is scheduled for 6 p.m.