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Bison Look for Second Straight PAC Win Saturday vs. Thiel
Dec. 7 - BETHANY, W.Va. – After taking its second consecutive win overall and first in conference play Wednesday, the Bethany College women’s basketball team will try to go 3-0 for the week when it hosts Thiel Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in a PAC tilt.
The Bison took their records to 3-5 overall and 1-2 in the league with a 57-34 victory Wednesday night over Geneva. Bethany dominated the first half in building a 30-13 lead at the break and then quickly took their advantage over 20 points in the second half to coast to the win. A total of 11 players scored for BC, led by senior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) and freshman Mikyla Tipton (right - Wellsville, Ohio) with 10 points each, while freshman Brianna Nuzum (Morgantown, W.Va.) had eight points and 11 boards, as the Bison controlled the glass by a 56-35 margin.
Bethany’s performance on the boards was their second straight dominating effort, which has keyed their two wins. The Bison held a 44-20 rebounding margin in Monday’s win over Franciscan and BC has now out-rebounded two teams by more than 20 for the first time since the 2008-09 season. Sparking the team’s effort on the glass are the Bison guards, as Taormina at 7.0 rebounds per game, junior Taylor Verrico (Monaca, Pa./Quigley) at 5.9 and junior Skylar Williams (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) at 5.5 are the team’s top rebounders.
Taormina (right) continued her hard work on the boards Wednesday by notching her eighth career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. She will also look to continue her success against Thiel on Saturday, as in six games against the Tomcats, she is averaging 15 points per game. Taormina turned in two strong games last year in a pair of Bison victories. She scored 14 in BC’s 76-63 home win over Thiel and in the rematch in Greenville, Taormina had 23 to help pace Bethany to a 91-87 overtime win.
Thiel (2-5, 1-2) will also be trying to get to .500 in the PAC with a win Saturday. After the Tomcats opened league play with a 78-58 win over Geneva, they have dropped two straight, including a 69-60 defeat at Westminster Wednesday. Although Thiel committed a season-low nine turnovers, they could not overcome the Titans’ school-record 12 three-pointers. The Tomcats were led by Kayla Welty, who hit five three-pointers and scored 17, Riian McCray, who posted 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and Kelly Barzak, who totaled 11 points.
The Tomcats are one of the highest scoring teams in the conference. Their 65.0 points per game is third in the league and they are shooting a PAC-high 42.8 percent from the floor. Leading the prolific attack is two of the top three scorers in the conference, as guard Kelly Muffley ranks second with 17.3 points per game and Barzak is right behind her with 17.1. McCray is off to a big start this year, averaging 12.3 points and a PAC-leading 10.6 rebounds per a game. Her double-double Wednesday was the sixth of her season, which is also the most in the league.
Saturday’s game will also be a Homecoming of sorts for Thiel head coach Rob Clune. He was the Bethany men’s head coach from 1995-2002 and was selected as the PAC Coach of the Year his final two years after leading BC to back-to-back conference titles, as well as an NCAA Tournament berth in 2002 where they advanced to the second round before losing to the eventual national champion Otterbein.