Career-High Scoring Efforts Not Enough in Bison’s Loss at W&J
Feb. 16 - WASHINGTON, Pa. – Three different players tied or set new career-highs in scoring, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Bethany College women’s basketball team from suffering an 81-66 loss at Washington & Jefferson Saturday.
The Bison finish the regular season with a 7-18 overall record and a 5-13 mark in the PAC, while the Presidents improved to 18-7 and 13-5.
The first half was high-scoring from the start, as both teams were hot from the field. Four points each from junior Taylor Verrico (Monaca, Pa./Quigley) and freshman Brianna Nuzum (right - Morgantown, W.Va.) helped push BC to a 10-7 lead, but the Presidents scored five straight and didn’t trail again. After W&J pushed the lead out to five, Bethany came back to tie the game at 25-25 on a triple by senior Carly Garneau (Beaver Creek, Ohio/Carroll) with 6:37 left in the half.
The Presidents answered back with a 12-2 surge to build a 10-point cushion. Verrico ripped off seven consecutive points to get the Bison as close as 39-34, but the home team closed the period with a 9-2 run to extend their lead to 48-36 at the break. The Bison shot 44 percent in the opening stanza, but W&J hit on 56 percent of their attempts and forced 10 BC turnovers in the first half.
Bethany scored the opening two hoops of the second half, but W&J would run their advantage out to 61-47 with 13 minutes remaining. The Bison made one quick push with seven consecutive points in a minute, as Verrico hit a trey and Nuzum and Tipton both scored on lay-ups to bring BC within 61-54. The spread remained at seven points until the midway point of the second half, when a 7-0 burst by the Presidents swelled their lead back to 14 and they would coast to the win from there.
In the loss, three Bison finished with personal bests in points. Tipton (right) totaled 21 points and six rebounds, while Verrico matched her career-high with her third 21-point performance of the season. Nuzum also set a new high with her 16 markers. Senior Kayla Taormina (Center Twp., Pa./Quigley) helped the Bison finish the game with a 39-31 rebounding advantage by grabbing a career-high 15 boards.
For the Presidents, the frontcourt duo of Chelsea Apke and Valerie Dunlap led the way with 24 points apiece, while Apke also added nine boards and five assists.
The loss put the Bison into the eighth seed for next week’s PAC Tournament. Bethany will open the playoffs with a road trip to top-seed Thomas More, who finished 24-1 overall and 18-0 in the conference.