“You have to take care of business at home; if you don’t, you’re in a lot of trouble,”

LINDSBORG — In Keith Ferguson’s first year as head coach of the Bethany College women’s basketball team, his team started the season 0-10 including an 0-3 start in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play. Now, in his second year, Ferguson has the Swedes trending in the right direction.

Led by sharpshooter Sarah Bartel and a game-high 18 points from Marissa Pope, Bethany College improved to 4-3 (1-0 in the KCAC) with a 66-51 win over Bethel College Wednesday night at Hahn Gymnasium.

Winning on the road in the KCAC is tough, so Ferguson knows how crucial winning home games are in conference.

“You have to take care of business at home; if you don’t, you’re in a lot of trouble,” Ferguson said. “To start conference with a home win, that’s always a great step. I think our kids gained some confidence.”

Outside of the third quarter, which was dominated by Bethany, the two teams were neck and neck the entire way. The Swedes led 18-14 after the first quarter, but the lead was trimmed to three at halftime.

Bethany started the third quarter on a 6-0 run and outscored Bethel 23-9 coming out of halftime. Even though Bethel outscored Bethany in the fourth quarter by two, the Swedes still cruised to a 66-51 win.

According to Ferguson, out rebounding Bethel 47-41 was the key. Of Bethany’s 47 rebounds, 23 were offensive.

“We knew whoever won this game would have to win the rebounding battle,” Ferguson said. “Since we were able to get second-chance points and stop them from getting second-chance points, it helped us.”

Pope led all scorers with 18 points on 6 of 16 shooting from the field. Bartel was electric from beyond the arc, going 5 for 8 from 3-point land to finish with 17 points. Samirah Miller was the final Swede in double figures with 12 points.

Bethany will find some things out about itself this Saturday when the Swedes travel to Salina to take on Kansas Wesleyan who is receiving votes in the latest NAIA poll.

Contact Gallagher Martin by email at gmartin@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel