Bethany’s Womens basketball team came in to Saturday afternoon’s game in Winfield knowing it had a tall task in the way.
Not only did the Swedes have to try to take down one of the most improved teams in the league in Southwestern, but they had to do so at historic Stuart Fieldhouse–which is a difficult place to play.
Bethany dominated the second half to pull away with a 77-55 win to stay in the hunt for a KCAC Championship.
After a back-and-forth first quarter, which saw Southwestern take a 15-14 lead, Bethany heated up in the second quarter to open up a lead. The Swedes piled up 24 points in the period, led by Vasha Moore inside and Halei Wortham outside.
Moore would tally in 10 points in the half to lead the Swedes to a 38-31 halftime advantage.
Marissa Evans kept Southwestern in the game as long as she could as she made six 3-pointers on the afternoon. However, it was too much Bethany.
Autumn Garrett and Sena Aktas both got involved on the offensive end in the second half to build a double-digit lead. Meanwhile, the tough Swede defense forced Southwestern in to 19 turnovers.
Bethany outscored Southwestern 39-24 in the second half to cruise to a crucial road victory.
Southwestern (7-7, 4-6 KCAC) made 10 3’s in the game, but it wasn’t enough. Evan led Southwestern with 20 points and Ashley Carrillo scored 10.
Bethany (10-5, 7-3 KCAC) shot 48% from the field on Saturday. The win over Southwestern was the sixth-straight for Bethany and the third consecutive at Stuart Fieldhouse. Moore scored a career-best 18 points in the game, while Wortham had 12 key points and Aktas had 10.
The Swedes host Tabor this coming Wednesday in a huge showdown.
Southwestern 88, BETHANY MEN 84
In one of the most thrilling games of the season for Bethany, the Swedes and Moundbuilders went back-and-forth all night. However, Bethany went cold in the closing minutes to fall late at Stuart Fieldhouse.
Southwestern opened up the game red hot from the floor. The Builders built a 16-2 lead right out of the gate. After a Bethany timeout however, the Swedes, led by Justin Jones, rallied and used a 16-1 lead of its own to surge in front.
Both teams traded short leads all first half, until the Moundbuilders led 45-38 in the closing seconds when Jones nailed a 40-foot 3-point shot at the buzzer to give the Swedes momentum. Bethany trailed 45-41 at the break.
The lead changed hands numerous times in the second half as neither team was able to gain control in the offensive slug-fest.
Unfortunately, Bethany trailed 82-80 in the game’s closing minutes when Southwestern made back-to-back crucial 3-pointers, while Bethany went scoreless in four-straight possessions allowing the Moundbuilders to hang on for the win.
Southwestern (11-5, 5-5 KCAC) has now won seven-straight over the Swedes. Andrew Hamm poured in 33 points to lead the Builders. Ahmad Pratt had a huge first half and scored 18 points, Geoff Salas had 13 and Troy Baker added in 10 points.
Bethany (6-8, 2-8 KCAC) made 17 3-pointers on Saturday night, but it was not enough as they were outrebounded 54-28. Jones scored a career-best 39 points and Isiah Saenz added on 25 points–two shy of his career-best.
Both Bethany teams host Tabor on Wednesday evening. Live coverage can be heard on Salina radio station, 95.5 The Rock, beginning at 5:45 p.m.