Following a heartbreaker to St. Mary on Wednesday, the Kansas Wesleyan women’s basketball team dusted itself off.
Senior Mariah Knox and sophomore Courtney Heinen combined for 29 points and the Coyote defense locked down the Bethel attack down the stretch to complete a 61-53 victory at Mabee Arena Saturday.
Kansas Wesleyan started slow, falling behind 7-2 early in the first. The Coyotes answered with a 13-2 run, going ahead 15-8.
After building a 15-12 first-quarter advantage, the Coyotes lost the upperhand with 1:52 left in the half after a Thresher three. KWU charged back and went into the locker room up 35-31 after a monster and-one bucket by Knox.
Wesleyan would turn to another senior late in the third. Tied at 43-all, post Taryn Frazier allowed the Coyotes to regain the lead, drilling a bucket with six seconds left in the third. Bethel and Kansas Wesleyan would trade blows in the fourth, ultimately leading to a 51-49 KWU advantage. Sophomore Haleigh Bradford and Heinen made key sticks down the stretch while the defense held Bethel to four points the rest of the way.
Heinen had team-high honors, recording 15 points and four steals. Knox matched a season-high of 14 points, connecting on a couple triples to earn the Salina Ortho Player of the Game.
Wesleyan (13-11, 10-6) returns to action on Wednesday with a road trip to Southwestern. Pregame begins at 5:45 on FM 104.9.
KANSAS WESLEYAN 75, BETHEL 68
The Coyotes came out frigid cold, falling into an 18-8 hole with 11:27 to play in the half. Wesleyan answered with an 11-2 run, climbing back to within one, 20-19.
Bethel tried to pull away, but freshman Darius Hammond sparked an 11-0 explosion to close the half. Hammond made a jumper and followed that up with a three with four seconds left, giving KWU a 36-33 cushion at the break.
The start of the second half saw a combined seven field goals. That benefited the Threshers, grabbing a 53-48 lead. Senior Jamon Fulton willed the Coyotes back, making a bucket to knot up the score at 60-all with 7:42 to go.
Classmate Terell Gandy sent the Coyotes ahead with a triple with 3:35 left. Hammond nailed a trey at the 2:44 mark to give KWU a 70-66 cushion and the Coyotes didn’t look back.
Hammond matched a career-high 15 points, giving him the Salina Ortho Player of the Game. Junior Ithello Cross provided 10 points off the bench.
Wesleyan (12-10, 10-6) heads to Southwestern on Wednesday.