The weather might be getting warmer, but the Bethel College women’s basketball team was downright freezing from the field, falling to 13th-ranked (NAIA Division II) Sterling 78-48 Thursday on senior night at Thresher Gym.


The weather might be getting warmer, but the Bethel College women’s basketball team was downright freezing from the field, falling to 13th-ranked (NAIA Division II) Sterling 78-48 Thursday on senior night at Thresher Gym.

Bethel falls to 15-12, 9-8 in KCAC play. Sterling improves to 23-4, 15-2 in KCAC play.

“In the first half, they were on fire,” Bethel coach Mark Fox said. “Everything they threw up went into the hole. We were taking good shots. I don’t know if it was the adrenaline. We were pressing right now because we don’t have Rachael (Bachman) and Peyton (Walker). For whatever reason, starting at Saint Mary, we haven’t shot the ball well for four straight halves. Angela Wood has a lot of pressure on her. She is our best shooter, but she was just one of 10. The rest of the team feeds off her.”

Bachman did return for the first time in a couple of weeks, playing 11 minutes wearing a knee brace. She had one shot and one rebound.

Britany Gasper led Sterling with 20 points, followed by Laura Patrick with 12, Erica Herman with 10 and Cami Racette with 10. Madison Lucas had 11 rebounds.

Jessica Muckenthaler led Bethel with 12 points, followed by Jordyn Blanson with 11. Samantha Askew had nine rebounds.

Bethel honored six seniors — Phifer, Wood, Bachman, Kelsi Wilson, Holly Anthony and Askew. Wood will finish her Bethel career with a number of 3-point shooting records.

Fox was ejected 3:09 left in the game, drawing two technical fouls.

Bethel struggled with turnovers early, while Sterling hit four of its first even shots to take a 9-0 lead. Bethel took a time out, but gave up another basket before Jordyn Blanson hit two free throws with 15:19 remaining in the first half.

Samantha Askew hit the Thresher’s first field goal, a layup with 12:11 left in the first half. Bethel got back within eight on a Blanson layup with 9:18 left. Sterling followed with an 11-2 run.

Down by 16, Angela Wood was fouled on a mid-court shot at the buzzer, hitting two of three shots, to get Bethel back within 14, 32-18.

Bethel hit just 18.5 percent from the field (five of 27) with 12 turnovers. Sterling was 14 of 30 shooting with 13 turnovers.

Bethel got within 12 early in the second half, but Sterling took a time out and went on a 9-0 run to put the game away.

Sterling remains in a tie for first place in the conference with seventh-ranked Kansas Wesleyan. Bethel plays Kansas Wesleyan at 5 p.m. Saturday in Salina needing a win or a Friends loss to Ottawa to clinch a first-round game in the KCAC post-season tournament.

“We knew Sterling would come loaded for bear after losing to Ottawa,” Fox said. “We know Kansas Wesleyan will run the dribble-drive. We have to defend the perimeter. If we let their guards get into the paint and create things, we’ll be in trouble. We have to keep them beyond the 3-point line.”

STERLING (23-4, 15-2 KCAC) — Ewert 1-5 0-0 3, Herman 4-6 2-2 10, Schultze 3-5 2-2 9, Gasper 7-15 6-6 20, M.Lucas 2-5 2-4 6, Curtis 0-1 0-0 0, Spliess 1-4 0-0 3, Eilert 0-0 0-0 0, Racette 3-3 4-4 10, R.Lucas 1-2 0-0 2, Patrick 4-13 3-4 12, McGrath 1-1 1-1 3, TOTALS 27-60 20-23 78.

BETHEL (15-12, 9-8 KCAC) — Anthony 1-5 0-0 2, Askew 3-7 2-4 8, Wood 1-10 3-3 5, Bachman 0-1 0-0 0, Wilson 1-5 0-0 2, Muckenthaler 3-13 5-7 12, Regier 0-0 0-0 0, Phifer 2-2 1-2 5, Blanson 3-6 5-9 11, Wilkerson 0-2 0-0 0, Harpe 0-1 3-4 3, TOTALS 14-52 19-31 48.

Sterling 32 46 —78

Bethel 18 30 —48

Total fouls — SC 21, BC 20. Technical fouls — BC: bench 2. Fouled out — BC: Anthony. 3-point shooting — SC 4-11 (Ewert 1-2, Herman 0-1, Schultz 1-1. Spliess 1-2, Patrick 1-5), BC 1-11 (Wood 0-3, Wilson 0-2, Muckenthaler 1-4, Wilkerson 0-2). Rebounds — SC 40 (M.Lucas 11), BC 35 (Askew 9). Assists — SC (Gasper 5), BC 5 (Wilson 2). Turnovers — SC 19 (Schultze 6), BC 24 (Phifer 5). Blocked shots — SC 4 (Herman 2), BC 2 (Anthony 2). Steals — SC 10 (Patrick 5), BC 7 (Muckenthaler 3).