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Bison to Try for 2nd Straight Win Saturday against W&J

Jan. 11 -BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team will play its first home game in nearly a month Saturday when it hosts Washington & Jefferson in a PAC contest at 2 p.m.

3866Taormina12.jpg The Bison, who last played on their home floor on Dec. 15th, completed a three-game road trip Wednesday with a 77-58 victory at Chatham. Although the Green and White made just one three-pointer, BC set season-highs for points and field goal percentage (49.3) as they scored 62 points in the paint. Freshman forward Brianna Nuzum (Morgantown, W.Va.) set a career-best with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor and she was joined in double digits by junior Taylor Verrico (Monaca, Pa./Quigley) and freshman Mikyla Tipton (Wellsville, Ohio) with 13 points apiece.

Senior Kayla Taormina (right - Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) had a historic night, as she finished with nine points, six rebounds and six assists. Her opening bucket of the game gave her 1,000 points for her career, making her the 16th women’s player in Bethany history to reach that milestone. The 5-8 guard is leading the team and tied for 10th in the conference with 12.6 points per game and is also ninth in rebounding (6.7), eighth in assists (2.9) and sixth in free throw percentage (75.6).

Complimenting Taormina on the offensive side is Verrico, who has developed into the team’s most consistent scorer. With her 13 markers against Chatham, she has now scored in double digits in six straight games and has 10 or more points in a team-leading 11 contests this year. Verrico (below) came into the year averaging just over three points a game in limited time her first two seasons, but currently ranks 12th in the PAC with 12.1 per game this year and is tied for sixth with 23 three-pointers.

7348Verrico12.jpg Although W&J leads the series between the teams 48-33, the last four meetings have been split. Last year, the Presidents outscored BC 38-12 in the paint and came away with a 76-59 victory on their home floor despite 14 points from Taormina. In the rematch at Bethany, Taormina recorded 10 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, as the Bison rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to pull out a 68-60 win.

After dropping their final two games before Christmas, the Presidents (10-4, 5-2) have bounced back to win four of their last five contests to sit in third place in the PAC. On Wednesday, W&J won a defensive struggle at Grove City by a 54-40 count. Although they shot just 32 percent, the Presidents limited the Wolverines to 24.6 percent (14-57), the second straight game they held their opponent under 25 percent shooting. Forward Chelsea Apke just missed a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds, while guard Emily Abraham tallied 12 and 6-3 center Valerie Dunlap pulled down 13 boards and blocked eight shots.

Despite making just 6-of-11 from the foul line Wednesday, W&J is the top free throw shooting team in the league at 70.9 percent. Also sitting atop the conference rankings is Apke, who is pulling down a PAC-high 10.5 boards a game and is tied for the top spot with seven double-doubles to go with her 14.9 points per game. Dunlap is a league leader as well with 2.9 blocks per game and she is also contributing 11.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Balancing out the Presidents’ inside game is Abraham on the perimeter with 9.5 points and 23 three-pointers.