The Bethany-Saint Mary game Saturday night had it all. Big leads, bigger comebacks. Hot shooting, long droughts. Controversial calls, technical fouls. A game that featured two teams part of a three-way tie for second place in the KCAC certainly lived up to the billing as Bethany escaped 82-80, in overtime.
Bethany turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter, and trailed by as many as nine. Saint Mary led 22-15 after one.
Saint Mary struck first in the second quarter, but Bethany answered on a 9-0 run. Sarah Bartel rained in a three-pointer, with Cassidy Enns and Marissa Pope providing the other six points. The Swedes pushed their lead to 38-31 at intermission.
Bethany was firing on all cylinders in the third quarter, and built a 16-point lead, 47-31 with 6:47 remaining. From that point forward, Saint Mary started chipping away. The Spires went to their rock, Candy De Los Reyes, who sunk three free-throws in the closing minute to draw Saint Mary to one, 58-57 at the end of the third period.
The lead see-sawed back and forth in the fourth quarter. Bethany trailed by three with 3:37 remaining, 69-66. Samirah Miller knocked down a jumper with 2:13 left, and Pope soared in for a layup with 1:40 to go to give Bethany a 70-69 lead.
Saint Mary re-claimed the lead after a Tiani White floater, 71-70, with 38 seconds left. Bethany turned it over with 8 seconds left, and committed a quick foul to stop the clock with 6.3. However, the foul was only Bethany’s second in the quarter.
Bethany needed three more fouls to put Saint Mary at the line, and had only 6 seconds to do it. Prior to the Spires in-bounds pass, Pope grabbed her defender by the waist. Much to the dismay of the Bethany bench, it was whistled an intentional foul, putting Saint Mary at the line with the ball to follow. Saint Mary’s Kiera Tate bricked both free throws, and the score stayed the same. Sydney Ahaneku committed the fourth foul, and Bartel picked up the coveted fifth Bethany foul with 3.4 remaining.
De Los Reyes, an 85% foul shooter, missed both free throws. Bethany secured the rebound, and immediately called timeout. After advancing the ball, the Swedes got it to Lauren Welsch at the foul line. She elevated for the game-winning jumper, but was clobbered by two Spires, sending her to the stripe. A 66% free throw shooter on the year, Welsch calmly knocked both down with 0.5 remaining, giving Bethany a 72-71 lead.
Saint Mary coach Bruce Erickson called timeout to advance the ball to mid-court. Bethany’s Cassidy Enns was whistled for a hold prior to the in-bounds pass, putting Saint Mary at the line with 0.5 on the clock. De Los Reyes missed the first, but sank the second, and the game headed to overtime tied at 72.
The Spires hit a free throw to start the overtime, but after Enns drilled a triple, Bethany never looked back. The Swedes tightened the screws defensively to win it, 82-80, in the extra minutes.
Bethany moved to 13-7 with the win, and are tied for 2nd place in the KCAC standings with two regular season games to go. The Swedes travel to Southwestern Wednesday, pregame coverage at 5:45pm on KVOB, 95.5 The Rock.
SAINT MARY 78, BETHANY 62
The Swedes were unable to get over the hump on Senior night, and fell to Saint Mary 78-62 in Lindsborg.
Saint Mary led 41-28 at halftime, and built a 20 point lead in the early minutes of the final session. Bethany trimmed the Spires lead to five, 61-56, with 8:39 left, but Saint Mary answered with a 9-0 run to pull away.
Mookie Duncan led Bethany with 12 points, and 13 rebounds. Senior Jesse Patrick had 11 points.
Bethany hits the road for Southwestern on Wednesday, with pregame coverage at 7:45pm on KVOB, 95.5 The Rock.