Jan. 19 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Led by junior guard Kaitlyn McCormick’s (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) remarkable all-around game, the Bethany College women’s basketball team (9-6, 5-1) solidified its grip on second place in the PAC with a convincing 83-66 triumph over visiting Westminster (Pa.) College (11-4, 4-3) Saturday afternoon.
The game had a slow start offensively on both sides, as the Titans held a 4-1 lead with five minutes gone. Bethany finally got on track with a pair of threes from freshmen Stacy Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) and Tara Harris (Zanesville, Ohio) just 12 seconds apart. The game would have four more ties and four lead changes before the Bison took control late in the half. Another triple from Harris ignited a period-closing 9-0 spurt by BC, which sent them into halftime with a 38-28 lead.
McCormick, who had two baskets during the end-of-the-half run, tallied a team-high nine points at the break, while Westminster’s Emilee Ackerman, the PAC’s leading scorer, fired in 16. Aiding in Bethany building the first half cushion were 15 Titan turnovers, which were converted into 18 Bison points.
McCormick made sure the Bison started the second half strong, as she hit a three to open the stanza. Five minutes later, the Titans moved back within 10 points at 48-38, but Bethany answered by ripping off nine consecutive points, highlighted by Stacy Goode’s three-point play and two foul shots, to push their lead up to 19. Just after the midway point of the half, freshman Kelly Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) started and ended a 12-4 run with trifectas that swelled Bethany’s margin to its largest of the day at 76-50, which allowed the Green and White to coast to their fifth consecutive PAC victory.
The Bison defense was instrumental in the victory, as they forced 26 Westminster turnovers, the fifth straight game a BC opponent has committed 25 or more miscues.
McCormick spearheaded the Bethany effort by matching her career-high with 17 points, and setting new personal bests with eight rebounds, eight steals and four assists. But it was far from a one-person show that carried the Bison to victory, as all seven people who played made heavy contributions. Junior forward Susannah Cartland (Harvard, Ill.) and Stacy Goode each dropped in 14, while Kelly Goode and Stephanie Shafer (Lancaster, Ohio) both had 11.
Rounding out the double digit scorers with 10 was Harris, who also had four steals. And while junior point guard Caelyn DiSanti (Tarentum, Pa./North Catholic) only had six points, she also gave out a game-high six assists and pulled down four boards.
The Titans suffered the setback despite a double-double from Ackerman, who scored a career-high 33 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Guard Gina Brunetti chipped in with 13 points.
The Bison will hit the hardwood again on Wednesday for another big PAC test. Bethany will travel to Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) College for an 8 p.m. tip-off. The Presidents (11-4, 4-2) remained right on BC’s heels for second place in the league with a 67-51 victory over Waynesburg Saturday.