Chicago, Ill. – The Bethany College Swedes Women’s Basketball Team opened their season in Chicago, Illinois to face the Saint Xavier University Cougars as part of a two-game road trip.
The Cougars opened the contest with a second-chance layup, but preseason KCAC honoree Kisa Unruh would answer right back with a deep ball to spark a 7-0 run for the Swedes. Saint Xavier would find their footing and even it up at 7-7 before going on a 6-1 run of their own. Fellow preseason KCAC honoree R’Manie pulling would put a stop to the Cougar momentum with a three-pointer of her own to cut it to 13-11. In the final three minutes of the quarter, Mackenzie Noll would outscore the Cougars 5-4 cutting the lead to one going into the second quarter.
The Cougars would come out in the second period with something to prove as they would go on 11-0 run as the Swedes couldn’t buy a bucket until six minutes left when Unruh would hit a three-pointer to cut it back to a single-digit deficit. Bethany would battle back hitting 4 threes, but still be down 39-35 going into the break.
The third period would lack scoring unlike the others, but the Swedes would use a 5-0 run to steal the momentum heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final period, Saint Xavier would score first, but Martina Aeschliman would step onto the court and even it up with a layup assisted by Hannah Banko. Pulling would convert a layup made possible with an outlet pass by reigning KCAC Defensive Player of the Year Kylie Dunn following a missed three by the Cougars to give the Swedes their first lead since the first period. Bethany would not let go of the lead once they got it holding the Cougars scoreless for the last 2:21 of the game and sealing their victory 61-58.
Leading the Swedes in scoring was Kisa Unruh with 12 points. Emily Green was the only other Swedes to hit double-digits with 10 points. Kylie Dunn led the team with 5 assists while Lauren Gleason and Hannah Banko would tie for the team lead in rebounds with 7. R’Manie Pulling nabbed a team high 3 steals.
As a team, Bethany opened the season with a field goal percentage of 40% including 35.7% (10-28) from deep. The Swedes would contribute as a team with 26 of their 61 points coming from the bench.
This win will go down as Head Coach Sarah Bartels first victory at the helm as she is 1-0 as a head coach.
The Swedes will make one final stop in Bourbonnais, Illinois before returning home to take on the Olivet Nazarene University Tigers. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:00PM tomorrow, Saturday, October 28th, at McHie Arena.