Feb. 5 – NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Senior standouts Skylar Williams (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) and Taylor Verrico (Monaca, Pa./Quigley) both notched double-doubles, as the Bison women’s basketball team upended Westminster College, 85-78, on Wednesday evening.
The Bison opened the contest on an 11-5 run, getting one basket from all five starters over the first four minutes of the contest. Sophomore Gabrielle Naples (Salem, Ohio/South Range) gave the Bison their first lead (7-5) on a three-point basket with 17:41 to go. That was then followed by baskets from Williams and Verrico which gave Bethany the six-point advantage (11-5) with 16:02 to play.
After Westminster cut the lead to 11-7, Bethany put together another solid run, outscoring the Titans 12-2 over the next four and a half minutes to open a 23-9 advantage. The run, once again, was a total team effort, as Lauren Simpson (Washington, Pa./Trinity), Williams and Verrico all hit three-point baskets to stake Bethany to the 14-point advantage with 10:56 to play.
The lead never dropped below double-digits for the rest of the half. The Bison ran their lead to the largest of the stanza when Williams converted on a layup to stake Bethany to an 18-point cushion (36-18) with 5:41 to play.
The Titans would eventually cut the lead back down to 11 points (42-31) with 1:03 remaining, and Bethany would take a 44-33 lead into the halftime break.
Bethany was on fire in the first half, shooting 54 percent from the field, which included 6-of-13 from the three-point line. Five different Bison scored at least five points in the first stanza, led by Naples and Williams who tallied 10 each.
The second-half started out much like the first for the Bison, who ran the advantage back to 17 points (52-35) on a layup by Naples with 17:28 to play.
It was then, however, that the Titans made a move. Up 17, the Bison saw Westminster go on a 12-0 run over the next four minutes to cut the Bethany advantage to five points (52-47) with 13:47 remaining.
The Titans then continued to close the gap, eventually knotting the game at 68-68 with 5:05 to play on a jumper by Courtney Klein.
Not to be outdone, the Bison then embarked on an 11-5 run, which included six points by Sami Schott (Caldwell, Ohio/Shenandoah). The final basket by Schott in the run, a layup with 1:39 to play, gave the Bison a 79-73 lead. Bethany would never again relinquish the advantage, en route to the 85-78 victory.
For the first time this season, the Bison saw all five starters register double figures in the scoring column. Schott ended the game with a team-high 18 points, while Verrico finished the day with 17. Naples and Mikyla Tipton (Wellsville, Ohio/Wellsville) tallied 14 points each and Williams notched a season high 12.
Along with their point totals, both Verrico and Williams finished with double-doubles. Verrico added 11 rebounds to her 17 points, while Williams totaled a season-best 10 boards to accompany her 12 points. Both Williams and Verrico also totaled five assists in the game.
The feat marked the second time this season that a pair of Bison have finished with a double-double in the same contest. The previous instance was on November 23 against Penn State – Beaver when Verrico and Schott both finished with double digit points and rebounds.
The Bison finished the game shooting a blistering 52.5 percent from the field, en route to notching their second-highest scoring output of the season. Bethany also forced 18 Titan turnovers while notching 11 steals.
Bethany will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 8, as the Bison return home for a PAC bout with Thiel. The contest with the Tomcats is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.