Feb. 21 - WASHINGTON, Pa. – A short-handed Bethany women’s basketball team put up a valiant effort against #21 Washington & Jefferson Saturday, but the Presidents pulled away in the second half for a 93-77 victory.
The Bison (14-11, 8-6) were forced to play without senior Susannah Cartland (Harvard, Ill.), sophomore Tara Harris (Zanesville, Ohio) and freshman Renee Shepherd (New Martinsville, W.Va./Magnolia), who all suffered injuries in the last 10 days. That, coupled with W&J (22-3, 12-2) wanting to avenge a 66-61 upset at the hands of BC earlier this season, did not bode well for the Green and White in the early going Saturday.
The Presidents were unbelievably hot from the outside in the early going, as they hit 13 of their first 16 shots, including all six three-point attempts, in building a 35-15 lead midway through the first half. However, the Bison took W&J’s best shot and countered with a stunning 22-1 blitz over the six minutes. Sophomore Kelly Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) fired in nine during that stretch and senior Kaitlyn McCormick (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) capped the surge with a trey to give the Bison a 37-36 lead at the 3:48 mark.
W&J bounced back with threes from Blair Cotton and Lindsay Hyre around baskets from BC’s Goode and senior Renee Brandenburg (Avella, Pa.) and Hyre, who hit three threes as part of a 5-for-5 effort in the first half, gave the hosts a 44-41 lead at the break with a jumper shortly before half.
In the second half, the Presidents kept trying to pull away, only to see Bethany slide back into the game. W&J pushed their lead to 54-43 four minutes into the half but two scores by freshman Anne Wilson (Saegertown, Pa./Cambridge Springs) and a three from sophomore Stacy Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) cut the Bison deficit to six. After a quick five-point burst from the Presidents ran their lead back to 11, Wilson hit a lay-up to bring it back to single digits at 66-57 with 10 minutes left to play.
However, W&J finally managed to take control over the final 10 minutes. A three from Catlyn Kriston swelled the cushion back to 12 and Bethany couldn’t get the deficit under 10 the rest of the night. The Presidents would shoot 56 percent (15-27) in the second half and their bench outscored BC’s 27-6 for the game.
Leading the Bison offense was McCormick, who cashed in four three-pointers and finished with a career-high 23 points, as well as nine rebounds. Kelly Goode dropped in 15 points before fouling out, while Brandenburg totaled 14 markers and three blocked shots and Wilson chipped in 13.
The Presidents were led by their three seniors playing in the final regular season game at home. Emily Hays led the way with 19 points, while Veronica Kust (17) and Hyre (13) each scored career-highs. Maggie Gibson also finished with a double-double of 17 points and 16 rebounds.
The loss did not hurt the Bison in the conference standings, as they had already clinched the third seed for next week’s PAC Tournament. Bethany will host the sixth-seed Waynesburg at Hummel Field House on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the conference quarterfinals. If BC and W&J, who will host Westminster Tuesday, they could face in the PAC semifinals next Friday at top-seeded Thomas More, provided the Saints can get past Chatham in the quarterfinals Tuesday night.