Keith Ferguson’s rebuild of the Bethany women’s basketball program took a major step forward Saturday night in Hillsboro. Bethany knocked off the 14th ranked Tabor Bluejays, 51-50. The win ended a 15 game losing streak to Tabor, and gave Bethany three straight league wins for the first time since 2006.
Trailing by 11 entering the 4th quarter, Bethany outscored Tabor 19-7 in the final ten minutes. A pair of Sarah Bartell free throws tied the game at 49 with 2:54 remaining. Tabor would answer by converting a charity with 2:43 to go, reclaiming the lead 50-49. Both teams continued to slug it out until Bethany’s Lauren Welsch hit a driving layup with 1:18 left, giving Bethany a 51-50 lead.
Tabor had the ball on the game’s final possession, but Morgan Ediger had to force up a fade-away three. When the shot fell short, the Bethany celebration ensued.
Bethany’s Welsch recorded her third consecutive double-double, and finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Outside of her, it was a balanced attack for the Swedes as four other players had six or more points.
The Swedes owned the glass, winning the rebounding battle 40-30, and recorded 13 offensive rebounds. Bethany leads the KCAC with over 40 boards per game, and 20 offensive rebounds per contest.
Bethany returns to action Tuesday at home against Oklahoma Wesleyan. Tipoff is set for 6pm, with pregame at 5:45 on KVOB 95.5 The Rock.
TABOR 98, BETHANY 65
It was evident from the opening tip that Bethany sorely missed their all-league point guard Tyler Larkin. Coming off a 37 point, 10 rebound, and 9 assist performance, Larkin sat out due to concussion symptoms. Tabor rolled to a 98-65 win in front of a packed home crowd.
Bethany ended the first half on an 8-0 run to trim the Tabor lead to 45-38 at intermission. The Swedes Milos Milosevic scored the first basket of the second half, and cut the lead to 45-40. Bethany cut the lead to five for a second time at 51-46 with 15:44 to go, but Tabor answered with a 15-2 burst to pull away.
Bethany’s Isiah Saenz scored a team-high 23 points, but took 21 shots and had six turnovers. Thomas Hood had 15 points for Bethany, but also committed six miscues.
Bethany hosts Oklahoma Wesleyan on Tuesday with tipoff set for 8pm. Pregame will start following the conclusion of the women’s game on KVOB 95.5 The Rock.
By James Westling