While the Bethel College women’s basketball team may be out of the KCAC playoff race, the Threshers still were able to determine its finish.
The Threshers upset Oklahoma Wesleyan 63-46 Wednesday night at Thresher Gym. The Eagles received votes in the NAIA Division II poll and entered the game tied for second in conference play.
“One thing we we’re doing a little bit better job of is denying the three,” Bethel coach Drew Johnson said. “At the beginning of the year, we were giving up a lot of threes. This is the third team in a row that shot a low percentage — three of 23 — and they are a good shooting team. We made some adjustments to fix that.”
Jade Brown scored 12 points in the second half to finish with 17. Abby Schmidt finished play with 14 points and 10 rebounds, putting her seven shy of the single-season record with one game remaining. Karlie Schroeder scored 14 and Kelsey Potter added 11.
“The team kept getting me the ball in great position,” Brown said. “That set me up for some good shots. I was able to face up for the three.”
Schmidt’s double-double was the 10th of the season, fifth best for a single season.
“There were at least two people boxing me out,” Schmidt said. “I don’t care. I just want to get the rebound. Sometimes, that just allows others on the team to get the rebound.
Schmidt needs just seven rebounds to tie the single-season school record. Schmidt would join her mother, Amy (Franz) Schmidt in the record books. Her mom co-holds the record for steals in a season at 72.
“I think about it a little,” Schmidt said. “I just try to go out every night and do what I can to help us win. If I get a record or two, that would be nice. It’s cool to have that kind of history in my family. Both my mom and my dad are an inspiration.”
Tiffany Rieger led the Eagles with 16 points. OWU falls to 19-10 13-8 in KCAC play. A 63-46 Bethany win over Southwestern moves the Eagles into third place in the conference with a game to play.
Tied 4-4 early, Bethel made an 8-0 run. The Eagles got within six at the end of the quarter, 12-6.
Bethel was outscored 11-3 to open the second quarter. Bethel trailed by as many as six in the period. Bethel got back within one at the half, 23-22.
“It was important for us to get off to a good start,” Schmidt said. “We wanted to shut them down at the beginning. … We have confidence. It doesn’t matter if we’re down two points or 15, we know we have the ability to come back.”
“I think we just got settled in a bit,” Brown said. “We got settled in a bit too much. The coach told us they would make a run. They’re the no. 2 team in the conference. We just had to come back and make a run of our own.”
Bethel made a 7-0 run to open the third quarter. OWU tied the game on one of two free throws with 2:17 left in the period. Bethel came back with the next seven points to lead 38-31 at the end of the quarter.
Brown extended the run to nine points with the first basket of the fourth quarter. Schmidt hit a three-point play with 7:06 in the quarter to put the Threshers up by 10. After an OWU turnover, Karlie Schroeder hit a trey. Schroeder added another with 5:53 to play to put Bethel up by 16. Rieger broke the run with a layup with 5:23 to play.
Back-to-back Eagle 3-pointers cut the BC lead to 11 with three minutes to play. Brown answered with a trey.
“I’m so thankful for the group for continuing to battle,” Johnson said. “There was a point in the season where we lost 10 straight. We never ducked our heads. We never gave in. That was third team ranked second in our conference that we beat in a row. I have to credit the players. We held them to 23 in both halves and that’s a high-octane offense that’s averaging about 70 a game. They didn’t make some shots they normally make. Being on the road probably didn’t help them. Our defense played a part in that.”
Bethel improves to 11-18, 7-14 in KCAC play. Bethel hosts McPherson at 5 p.m. Saturday for senior night and to end the season. McPherson is 14-14, 10-11 in conference play, after a 72-56 loss to Saint Mary. Bethel beat the Bulldogs 54-51 earlier this season.
A win for the Threshers will give the team its most wins since the 2013-14 season and its most conference wins since 2010-11. Bethel will have tripled its wins from last year.
Bethel loses four seniors — Ciara McKinney, Fantasia Johnson, J’Daijon Sumpter and Kylee Schunn.
“We want to represent our seniors,” Johnson said. “It will be a special night with a lot of energy in the gym. I want to see a lot of people here.”
OKLAHOMA WESLEYAN (19-10, 13-8 KCAC) — Mary Hutchins 3-9 0-0 6, Karena Karges 1-3 0-0 2, Sarah Hajdukovich 3-4 1-2 7, Tiffany Rieger 7-16 0-0 16, Briana Merchant 0-2 0-0 0, Cheyenne Been 1-17 1-2 4, Grace Pospichal 0-0 0-0 0, Dania Goodwin 3-12 0-1 6, Whitney Metker 0-0 1-2 1, Sarah Short 2-5 0-0 4. TOTALS 20-68 3-7 46.
BETHEL (11-18, 7-14 KCAC) — Karlie Schroeder 4-7 2-6 14, Ciara McKinney 0-3 0-0 0, Michelle Schrag 0-0 0-0 0, Riley Schmieder 1-4 0-0 2, J'Daijon Sumpter 0-3 2-2 2, Jade Brown 7-12 0-2 17, Kelsey Potter 2-11 5-6 11, Abby Schmidt 6-12 2-8 14, Kylee Schunn 1-2 1-2 3, Erica Ebenkamp 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS 21-55 12-26 63.
Total fouls — OW 21, BC 10. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. 3-point shooting — OW 3-23 (Hutchins 0-3, Karges 0-1, Rieger 2-6, Merchant 0-2, Been 1-9, Goodwin 0-2), BC 9-20 (Schroeder 4-6, Brown 3-4, Potter 2-9, Ebenkamp 0-1). Rebounds — OW 30 (Merchant 8), BC 43 (Schmidt 10). Assists — OW 11 (Been 3), BC 14 (Brown 5). Turnovers — OW 10 (Goodwin 2, Been 2, Short 2), BC 14 (Brown 5). Blocked shots — OW 2 (Hutchins 1, Merchant 1), BC 5 (Schunn 3). Steals — OW 11 (Been 3), BC 5 (Schroeder 3).