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Bison Women Look to Open PAC Playoffs with Upset at Thomas More

Feb. 18 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team faces a daunting task if it wants to advance to the PAC Tournament semifinals, as the eighth-seeded Bison travel to top seed and six-time defending PAC champion Thomas More Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m.

7348Verrico12.jpg The Bison (7-18, 5-13) ended the regular season on a down note, as three players set career-highs in scoring but BC fell by an 81-66 score at Washington & Jefferson Saturday. In addition to junior Taylor Verrico (right - Monaca, Pa./Quigley) matching her career-high with 21 points, freshman Mikyla Tipton (Wellsville, Ohio) dropped in 21 and freshman Brianna Nuzum (Morgantown, W.Va.) had 16 points. But despite those high-scoring performances, Bethany couldn’t slow down a W&J offense that shot 52 percent from the floor.

In addition to the big scoring efforts, senior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) set a career high by pulling down 15 rebounds. She is averaging 7.8 boards per game, which ranks her sixth in the PAC. It’s also the best rebounding season by a Bison since Nicole Vlakjovich averaged 9.2 boards a game during the 2004-05 campaign.

3866Taormina12.jpg Taormina (right) averaged seven boards in the two games with Thomas More, who won both meetings with Bethany this season. The Bison are also 0-2 against TMC all-time in conference tournament games. This will be the first time the teams have played in the opening round, as they squared off in the semifinals in 2007, a 62-49 Saints win, and last year, a game won by Thomas More 83-56.

The Saints closed the regular season with an impressive 75-52 victory at Saint Vincent Saturday, the team’s 21st straight triumph. Thomas More led by just three at halftime, but its defense clamped down on the Bearcats in the second half, limiting SVC to 20 percent shooting in the second half. A trio of sharp-shooters carried the Saints, with Allison Long hitting four triples and scoring 18, Katie Kitchen knocking down three treys and totaling 17 and Sydni Wainscott was 4-for-4 from the arc for 12 points.

Wainscott had a huge game when Thomas More defeated Bethany 92-46 last Wednesday, as she was a perfect 10-for-10 from the foul line in scoring 24 points. The Saints scored 29 points from the foul line in the game and they forced 35 BC turnovers. It was a similar recipe Thomas More followed when it grabbed a 95-42 win at Bethany Jan. 16th, as the Saints converted 25 free throws and harassed Bethany into 35 miscues. Point guard Allison Long led four scorers in double digits with 23 points.