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Jan. 5 - BETHANY, W.Va. – After starting the New Year with a one-point loss Monday night, the Bethany College women’s basketball team will play their first home game of 2011 Thursday night when Grove City comes to Hummel Field House for a 6 p.m. tip-off.

The Bison (6-5, 1-2) were looking for their fourth consecutive victory on Monday at Thiel and led 70-62 with three minutes to play. However, the Tomcats rallied and, strengthened by BC missing three front ends of one-and-ones in the final minute, were able to pull out a 71-70 victory when Kelly Muffley sank a three-pointer with six seconds to play. Sophomore guard Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) just missed her second straight double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds, while junior center Katelynn Hackathorn (Valley Grove, W.Va./Wheeling Park) also scored 18 on 7-for-8 shooting from the floor.

Although she plays on the perimeter, Taormina has been a force on the boards recently. The 5-8 sophomore is averaging 9.3 rebounds, as well as 12.7 points, over the last three games. She has grabbed seven or more caroms in five contests this season and is third on the team with 5.5 boards per game. Taormina’s contributions on the glass are a big reason why the Bison have held a rebounding advantage in all but one of their games this year.

In addition to Bethany’s three-game winning streak being halted, another run came to an end Monday night. Junior guard Audra Droginske (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) connected on her first three-point attempt at Thiel, extending her streak of consecutive threes to 11 dating back to the first half of the Dec. 7 victory at Ohio-Eastern. The streak was snapped when she missed her next attempt, but Droginske finished the night with five points and seven of the Bison’s 20 assists in the game.

Thursday’s match-up will be the first in more than three weeks for Grove City (4-6, 1-2). The last time the Wolverines were in action was on Dec. 14 when they dropped a 63-53 decision at home to Denison. Senior forward Christine Slater recorded her third double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds while adding in five blocked shots, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 24 turnovers and 32 percent shooting from the floor as a team.

The big night from Slater has been common this year for GCC. She leads the PAC in scoring with 18.1 points per game and is third in rebounding with 8.3 boards while playing just under 37 minutes a game to lead the conference. Slater has also posted impressive numbers in her career against Bethany, with averages of 17.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in six games against the Bison.

Bethany will also have to slow down Grove City’s Leah Gibson Thursday, as the 5-5 sophomore guard is sixth in the PAC in scoring (14.8) and fifth in three-point percentage (41.7). Her backcourt mate Megan Gebrosky ranks third on the team in scoring with 7.2 points per game and is fourth in the PAC with 3.78 assists.

The all-time series between the teams is tightly-contested, with Grove City holding a slim 29-27 advantage. The teams have split their last four meetings, including each school winning on their home floor last year. Slater scored 16 to spark the Wolverines to a 65-48 victory at their gym. In the rematch at BC, Slater totaled 19 points and 13 boards, but she was outdone by Bison junior Anne Wilson (Saegertown, Pa./Cambridge Springs), who scored 21, and Hackathorn, who posted 13 markers and 11 boards in a 69-67 overtime victory.