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Bethany Women Upend Kansas Wesleyan

Mike Hammett - February 15, 2014 7:19 pm

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A wild finish at Hahn Gymnasium in Lindsborg led to the Kansas Wesleyan women’s basketball team continuing its Saturday blues. A turnaround shot by Alecia Smith at the final buzzer fell short, as Bethany held on for a 58-57 win over the Coyotes on Saturday in Lindsborg. It was the fifth straight loss on a Saturday for the Coyotes.

In a rough first half which saw the Coyotes temporarily lose both Bethany Jeffery and Katie Pfeifer to injuries, Wesleyan started strong. Alecia Smith scored the Coyotes’ first five points, and Kalie LeShore added a fast break lay-up to give the Coyotes a 7-3 lead with 16:12 to go in the half.

Then, the Coyotes fell apart and Bethany took over. The Swedes shut the Coyotes out for the next seven minutes and 31 seconds, going on a 15-0 run in that span to take an 18-7 lead. It ended up being an 18-1 run by the time it was over, as Rebecca Kerlikowske drilled a three to put the Swedes up 21-8 with 8:25 left in the half.

Kansas Wesleyan then cranked it up defensively, limiting the Swedes to just four points for the remainder of the half. The Coyote offense was slow to come on, but after Pfeifer suffered a gash near her right eye with under three minutes left in the half, Wesleyan rallied. The Coyotes closed the half on a 6-0 spurt, getting three points from Alecia Smith and a three-point play by Karlie Steinle, cutting the deficit to 25-18 at the half.

The second half was wild. Bethany pushed the lead back to double digits at 14, leading 34-20 with 16:27 left.

Kansas Wesleyan started its comeback there. The Coyotes went on a 12-2 run to close within four at 36-32 on free throws by Christian Cassity.

Bethany would regain a nine-point lead at 43-34 on a 7-2 run. The Coyotes wouldn’t let it last thought, going on a 16-2 run. The Coyotes tied the game on a three by Vanessa Kresin and took the lead on a three by Pfeifer. Free throws by Kresin staked the Coyotes to a five-point lead at 50-45 with 4:50 left.

Bethany answered with six straight points as Alex Brammer hit a three and completed a three-point play, putting the Swedes up 51-50 with 3:27 remaining.

The lead changed hands seven times in the game, with six happening in the final 5:30 of the game. The Coyotes went back ahead on free throws by Kresin at 52-51, but the Swedes answered with a bucket by Brammer to lead 53-52 with 1:19 remaining.

Wesleyan answered again with a lay-in by Steinle, but a three by Brammer with 18 seconds left gave Bethany a 56-54 advantage.

The Coyotes turned the ball over on the ensuing possession, and Brammer hit two free throws after a foul with eight seconds remaining. Wesleyan got a three by Pfeifer with two seconds left, and quickly fouled Brammer on the inbounds. Brammer missed both free throws, airballing the second to give the Coyotes the ball out of bounds.

With 1 second on the clock, Kresin threw a baseball pass to the top of the key for Smith. Her turnaround shot fell short as the clock expired, and Bethany held on for a 58-57 win.

The Coyotes were led by 13 points from Cassity, while Kresin added 11, all in the second half. Brammer paced Bethany with 25 points, one shy of her career high.

Kansas Wesleyan drops to 13-14 overall and 8-8 in the KCAC. Bethany improves to 5-23 overall and 3-13 in the league.

The Coyotes visit North Newton on Thursday to meet Bethel. Pregame coverage is at 5:50pm with tip-off at 6 on Classic Hits 104.9 and online at 1049classichits.com.

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