Bethany women handle Coyotes, 58-44
Energy was key for the Bethany women Tuesday night against Kansas Wesleyan at Mabee Arena.
After the game was tied at six in the first quarter, the Swedes created tons of energy from their bench, which helped spark a 15-0 run and a 58-44 victory over the Coyotes.
Bethany improved to 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the Kansas Conference, while the Coyotes fell to 5-4, 4-2 in the KCAC.
“I thought our bench really came in and gave us some big points,” Bethany coach Keith Ferguson said. “I thought our bench brought a lot more energy and was able to bring some intensity not just scoring the basketball, but defensively as well. They came up with some big time stops.
“When you’re playing a team like Kansas Wesleyan here at home, you’ve got to take advantage of your opportunities. I thought we did a really nice job of taking advantage of our opportunities and taking the fight to them tonight.”
KWU coach Ryan Showman said the Swedes were a physical team and the best one the Coyotes have seen all season.
“That’s the best half-court defense we’ve seen all year,” Showman said. “They’re very physical in the paint. We needed to adjust to it a little bit better, and I thought we left some opportunities out there in the first half.
“Now, moving forward, we have an idea of what we need to do against that tough, physical style.”
Neither team looked sharp in the first seven minutes until the Swedes closed the first on an 11-point run to lead 17-6.
The Coyotes pulled within 12 on a basket from Kelcey Hinz, but the Swedes quickly pushed it back up to 19, 37-18, at halftime.
Bethany came out of the gates in the third quarter with the first eight points and led 49-30 lead heading into the fourth.
The Coyotes got some energy from their bench in the fourth period, outscoring the Bethany, 14-9, but it was too little, too late.
“I told the girls in the locker room, ’If we could have (started) the game how we ended, it would have been a lot different outcome.’ It would have been a lot closer in the fourth, Showman said. ”We would have had ourselves a chance to win.
“Against any team in this league, let alone the good teams like Bethany, you absolutely can’t come out flat. That’s how they’re so good is they play off those emotional plays and high energy plays, and they’ll make you pay if you’re not ready.”
Senior Amanda Hill led the Wesleyan with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Hinz added 16 points and 15 rebounds.
Hannah Ferguson’s 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead four Bethany double-figure scorers. After picking up 10 points early, Halei Wortham was held scoreless the remainder of the way.
“Halei’s our floor leader and general, and we kind of go as she goes,” Keith Ferguson said. “(For) Hannah, that was one of the most complete games she’s had. She did an incredible job on (Kelcey) Hinz, especially early. I was really glad to see Hannah step up and get a double-double against a team like that.”
KWU will host Bethel for a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. with the women’s game and the men following at 7. It will be the first of two meetings between the Coyote women and the Threshers, while the men’s game will wrap up their season series.