LINDSBORG — In a battle of McPherson County rivals, it was the McPherson College women who had the slight upper hand on their rivals from up north.
The Bulldogs were well aware that Bethany College has greatly improved from a season ago. So it was no surprise when the Bulldogs, now 6-2 on the season, went into halftime with a slim two-point lead.
And when Bethany took an early third quarter lead, McPherson responded with 16-6 run to close out the quarter which ultimately led to a 62-53 win for the team in red. McPherson improved to 2-1 in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play while Bethany dropped to 1-2.
The Swedes outscored the Bulldogs 16-11 in the first quarter, thanks to a strong inside presence from 6-foot-1 center Cassidy Enns along with easy transition buckets.
The Swedes were able to keep their lead until McPherson’s Sonerka White exploded for nine straight points on back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers to lead the Bulldogs from down six to up three in a blink. The Bulldogs took a 31-29 lead into the break, but the Swedes still had fight left in them.
Enns again made her presence known, giving the Swedes a 35-33 lead with points in the paint. But from the 7:10 minute of the third quarter to the conclusion of the game, McPherson outscored Bethany 29-18 to escape Lindsborg with a win.
White led all scorers with 17 points, while Brooklyn Coe (14) and Cami Richardson (12) reached double figures.
Bethany was led offensively by Enns, who was 5-for-10 from the field and scored 13 points. Fellow center Sydney Ahaneku was a point away from a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds, while Marissa Pope and Lauren Welsch each scored seven for Bethany.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well, but the Bulldogs did have the upper hand. McPherson shot 22-59 from the field (37.3 percent) including 5-18 from beyond the arc (27.8 percent). The Bulldogs had the major advantage at the free throw line, where they made 72.2 percent of their free throws.
On the other hand, Bethany shot just 11-21 from the free throw line (52.4 percent), while shooting only 14.3 percent from beyond the arc (2-14). Bethany did have a distinct rebounding advantage, 54-40, which kept the Swedes in the ball game.
Bethany, now 4-5 (1-2 KCAC), hosts Central Christian College today at 11 a.m. McPherson, now 6-2 (2-1 KCAC), will enjoy a longer break as the Bulldogs are not in action again until next Wednesday when they host Southwestern College.
Contact Gallagher Martin by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel