The Bethel College women’s basketball team whittled away a 20 point lead in the fourth quarter down to two, falling to Sterling College 63-61 Wednesday in KCAC play at Thresher Gym.

Bethel trailed 21-12 after the first quarter, 40-22 at the half and 46-34 after three quarters. The Warriors got the lead to 20 on a Kylah Comley shot in the pain with 7:12 to play. Bethel charged back with a 17-9 run capped by a Michelle Schrag trey with 20 seconds to play. After a pair of missed free throws for Sterling with 15 seconds remaining, Bethel missed a pair of shots just before the buzzer, including a 3-point attempt for the win.

Comley finished the game with 22 points, followed by Kilee Harris with 15.

Abby Schmidt led Bethel with 31 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots, one of the top single-game scoring performances for a Thresher freshman in recent years. Karlie Schoreder added 11 points for Bethel.

Sterling improves to 6-3, 5-1 in KCAC play, one game behind Tabor in the conference standings.

Bethel drops to 4-8, 0-6 in KCAC play. The loss was Bethel’s sixth straight.

Bethel plays at 3 p.m. Saturday at Saint Mary. The Spires are 5-6, 2-4 in KCAC play, after an 89-43 thumping at Tabor.

STERLING (6-3, 5-1 KCAC) — Jordin Greer 3-9 1-2 8, Kortney Ricke 0-0 0-0 0, Samantha Mosley 0-1 2-2 2, Kylah Comley 9-14 4-4 22, Jessica Princ 2-6 4-8 8, Kennedy Sokoloski 0-3 0-2 0, Kilee Harris 5-10 5-6 15, Alexis Theus 4-9 0-0 8, Brianna Samilton 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 23-52 16-24 63.

BETHEL (4-8, 0-6 KCAC) — Karlie Schroeder 4-9 1-2 11, Ciara McKinney 0-0 0-0 0, Fantasia Johnson 2-6 0-2 4, Michelle Schrag 2-9 0-0 5, Riley Schmieder 1-3 0-0 2, J'Daijon Sumpter 0-1 0-0 0, Jade Brown 0-6 3-4 3, Kelsey Potter 1-4 0-0 3, Abby Schmidt 12-21 7-11 31, Kylee Schunn 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 23-63 11-19 61.

Sterling;21;19;6;17;—63

Bethel;12;10;12;27;—61

Total fouls — SC 14, BC 20. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. 3-point shooting — SC 1-7 (Greer 1-2, Comley 0-2, Sokoloski 0-1, Harris 0-2), BC 4-22 (Schroeder 2-7, Johnson 0-1, Schrag 1-5, Sumpter 0-1, Brown 0-4, Potter 1-3, Schunn 0-1). Rebounds — SC 22 (Princ 6), BC 43 (Schmidt 14). Assists — SC 10 (Princ 3), BC 15 (Brown 7). Turnovers — SC 14 (Harris 4, Greer 4), BC 25 (Johnson 7). Blocked shots — SC 1 (Princ 1), BC 7 (Schmidt 5). Steals — SC 13 (Ricke 4), BC 4 (Schroeder 3).