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Dec. 2 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Fresh off opening their PAC slate with a victory Wednesday, the Bethany College women’s basketball team will try to go 2-0 in the conference Saturday when they host unbeaten Waynesburg at 6 p.m. in Hummel Field House.
The Bison (3-3, 1-0) won their league opener Wednesday night over visiting Westminster by a 60-53 score. The Green and White had a 15-point lead with 6:39 to play cut down to five in the final minute, but they managed to secure the win with two free throws. Sophomore Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) went 8-for-9 from the floor and scored a career-high 24 points, while junior Katelynn Hackathorn (Valley Grove, W.Va./Wheeling Park) dropped in 13 of her 17 markers in the first half to help BC take a 31-20 lead at intermission.

Bethany’s defense has been a key in their three wins this season. The Bison are ranked last in the conference in scoring defense, as teams have put up an average of 70.7 points per game. However, those figures are skewed because of BC’s 103-95 loss to John Carroll on Nov. 20. In their three victories, Bethany is allowing just 53.7 points per game and are holding teams to 38.1 percent shooting from the field.

A season-long trend continued in Wednesday’s win, as BC out-rebounded Westminster 36-30. The Bison have held a rebounding advantage in five of the six outings so far, with the lone exception coming Nov. 19 when Bethany and Denison were even on the glass (37-37). The last time a team actually our-rebounded BC was Feb. 8 last against Grove City, a stretch of 11 straight games. Keying the Bethany efforts underneath is Hackathorn, who is 11th in the PAC with 6.8 boards per game, and senior Tara Harris (Zanesville, Ohio), who ranks 13th with 6.6.
That streak will certainly be challenged Saturday by Waynesburg, who is the top-rated team in the PAC in rebounding margin (+14.2) and offensive rebounds (23.6). The Yellow Jackets also boast the top rebounder in the league in forward Elisha Jones, who is averaging a double-double with 15.0 points and 10.2 caroms per contest. She started the year with three straight double-doubles, highlighted by a 24-point, 10-rebound effort in a 71-68 win over the host school in the championship game of the Allegheny Invitational, which earned her the tournament MVP.
The Yellow Jackets improved to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference with a 66-64 overtime win over Chatham  Wednesday. With her team trailing by one, Jones was fouled driving to the basket with 0.8 seconds to play and sank one-of-two free throws to send the game to overtime. Chatham banked in a three with four seconds left in the extra session to tie the score at 64, but Waynesburg’s Hannah Hunter hit a running jumper just inside the foul line as time expired to keep Waynesburg unbeaten. The bucket gave Hunter a game-high 20 points, while Jones was the only other Jacket to reach double figures with 10.

The 1-2 punch of Jones and Hunter has sparked Waynesburg to their best start in recent history. In addition to Jones ranking near the top in the PAC in scoring and rebounding, Hunter is eighth in the conference in scoring (13.2) and second with 4.6 assists. The duo is complimented by Morgan Hoone, a 5-10 junior guard, who has hit a team-best nine three-pointers and is scoring 10.6 points per game.

Although Bethany leads the all-time series between the schools 29-17, the recent match-ups have been even with the team splitting the last four regular season contests. Last year, Waynesburg protected their home court with a 60-58 victory despite 19 points from BC junior Anne Wilson (Saegertown, Pa./Cambridge Springs). In the rematch at Hummel Field House, Bethany overcame 22 points from Jones to pull out a 66-62 triumph, as Taormina dropped in 16 and Wilson netted 14.