Feb. 15 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College women’s basketball team (13-9, 8-3) will have a chance to clinch their first winning season in four years Saturday when they host Chatham (8-13, 4-7) in a PAC contest at Hummel Field House. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.
A victory by the Bison would also move them into a tie for second place in the conference with Washington & Jefferson (16-6, 9-3), who hosts Saint Vincent in a non-league contest Saturday. Bethany (at Westminster) and W&J (at Waynesburg) both play road games next Wednesday before playing each other in the regular season finale Feb. 23 at BC.
Bethany secured no worse than a .500 season and a home game in the first round of the PAC Tournament by defeating Grove City 68-60 Wednesday night. The Bison shot just 33 percent in the game but made 25 steals and forced 30 turnovers to pick up their third consecutive victory. Freshman guard Kelly Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami) tallied 16 points, eight rebounds, and six steals, while junior center Renee Brandenburg (Avella, Pa.) scored 13 and junior guard Kaitlyn McCormick (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) notched 12 markers, eight boards and eight steals.
Among BC’s 25 steals against Grove City, which tied their season-high, were five by freshman Stacy Goode (Pleasant Plain, Ohio/Little Miami). The 5-7 guard now has 71 thefts on the season and has a chance to break the school’s single-season record of 86 set by Rose Scott in 1996-97. Scott holds the top three seasons (84 in 1999-2000, 78 in 1997-98) in steals in the Bison record book, but may be joined by both Goode sisters, as Kelly isn’t far behind Stacy with 61 steals this year.
Providing a boost to the Green and White has been the return of Brandenburg. After suffering an injury during the first Chatham game Jan. 16, the 6-1 center was forced to sit out the next six games. She returned to score 10 points in last Saturday’s win at Saint Vincent, then chipped in with 13 points and three rebounds in just 11 minutes of action in the Grove City triumph. For the year, Brandenburg is averaging 7.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting 53 percent from the floor.
Brandenburg’s injury was just part of a dismal first half in Bethany’s first match-up with Chatham. The Bison turned the ball over 21 times in falling behind 36-22 by halftime to the Cougars. However, BC would post their largest rally in more than 10 years by coming back for a 67-60 victory in Pittsburgh. Kelly Goode stepped up in the second half with 17 of her career-high 23 points and junior point guard Caelyn DiSanti (Tarentum, Pa./North Catholic) dropped in a season-high 10. Chatham, who turned the ball over 36 times in the setback, was led by Kayla Hilko’s 10 markers.
Chatham needs a win Saturday to stay in contention for the fourth seed and a home game in the PAC Tournament. They suffered a big blow to those hopes Wednesday with an 81-70 loss to Westminster, who moved 1 ½ games in front of the Cougars for that fourth spot in the league standings. Chatham dropped the decision despite a remarkable game from Hilko, who set a school-record with 39 points in the game. The 5-9 guard/forward was 13-for-19 from the floor, including 4-for-6 from the arc, and 9-for-12 from the foul line. Joining her in double figures was Allason Holt with 15 points.
Hilko’s huge outing, which was the most points scored by a player in the PAC this season, puts her atop the Chatham scoring charts at 10.1. She is also the team’s top free throw shooter at 79 percent. Three other Cougars are scoring better than eight points per game, highlighted by guard/forward Barb Petty, who is totaling 8.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game. Chatham’s inside game is spearheaded by Holt, who is scoring 7.4 points and leads the team with 7.3 rebounds per game and 31 blocked shots on the year.