Take away 3-point shooting, and the Bethel College women’s basketball team would have a close game against Kansas Wesleyan Saturday in Salina.


Take away 3-point shooting, and the Bethel College women’s basketball team would have a close game against Kansas Wesleyan Saturday in Salina.

Instead, the seventh-ranked (NAIA Division II) Coyotes hit 12 of 31 from long range to down the Threshers 79-65.

Bethel was outscored 36-21 from 3-point range and 21-12 from the free throw line.

Kansas Wesleyan improves to 27-2 overall, 16-2 in KCAC play. The Coyotes claim a share of the conference title but will get the second seed in the post-season tournament on the Krause points tie-breaker against Sterling.

Bethel falls to 15-13, 9-9 in the KCAC. Bethel remains the fourth seed in the conference thanks to an 88-55 win for Ottawa over Friends.

Bethel hosts Friends at 7 p.m. Thursday.

“I was very happy with the way we competed,” Bethel coach Mark Fox said. “We didn’t fold. They bumped it back to 19 or 20, then we’d get back in it. Then they’d bump it back again. We could never get over the hump, but we never folded either. I’m proud of the kids for that.”

Bethel actually had a higher shooting percentage in the game, hitting 23 of 53 for 43.4 percent while KWU was 23 of 61 for 37.7 percent. It was Bethel’s best shooting night of the past three games. The Coyotes were 12 of 31 from 3-point range while Bethel was seven of 15. Most of the Bethel treys came in the second half.

“We shot it really well.” Fox said. “But we were trading threes for twos. They’d get nine extra points from the free throw line. They’d get 15 points from the 3-point range. We did better job in the second half with turnovers. Their points off free throws went from 15 in the first half to two in the second. We only had five turnovers in the second half. Had we done the things we talked about in the first half — ball security and defending the perimeter — who knows what kind of game it could have been.”

Shelby Babcock led Wesleyan with 22 points, hitting four of eight 3-pointers and 10 of 11 from the free throw line. Monica Santee scored 15 points. Katie Novack came off the bench and scored 13 points, hitting four of seven 3-pointers.

Bethel was led by Jessica Muckenthaler and Angela Wood with 15 points each. Jordyn Blanson scored 14 points off the bench. Holly Anthony had 16 rebounds, followed by Blanson with nine.

“Jordyn was really aggressive offensively,” Fox said. “Holly was a beast on the boards. That’s as good of post play as we’ve had all year long. Samantha Askew was battling when she came in. It comes down to the early turnovers and not defending the three.”

Bethel turned the ball over on five of its first seven possessions, falling behind 10-3. Bethel trailed by as many as 10 early, but cut the lead to five on a Wood jumper with 3:02 left in the first half. Wesleyan finished the half on a 12-3 run capped by a Santee trey at the buzzer, putting the Threshers down by 14 at the half, 41-27.

Bethel had 15 turnovers in the first half tin the first half to three for Wesleyan. Bethel was outscored 24-6 from 3-point range in the first half.

Babcock opened the second half with a pair of treys to put Wesleyan up by 20. Bethel closed to within 12, but Wesleyan was able to pull back out from the line.

Bethel faces Friends for the third time, winning the first two meetings 83-70 at home and 53-49 on the road.

“It’s always hard to beat a team a third time,” Fox said. “That’s what we have to do. We know it’s going to be the most physical game of the year. The first two times we played them, we had to hunker down. At times tonight, I thought we went out and were tougher. They’re stronger than us at every position, but we found ways to take care of things and came out on top.”

BETHEL (15-13, 9-9 KCAC) — Muckenthaler 4-8 5-6 15, Regier 0-1 0-0 0, Phifer 1-3 0-0 2, Blanson 5-9 4-14 14, Harpe 0-2 0-0 0, Wood 6-14 1-3 15, Anthony 3-6 2-2 8, Wilkerson 2-3 0-1 6, Wilson 1-4 0-0 3, Askew 1-3 0-0 2, Bachman 0-0 0-0 0, TOTALS 23-53 12-26 65.

KANSAS WESLEYAN (27-2, 16-2 KCAC) — Frost 3-5 3-4 11, Ekno 2-10 0-0 5, Santee 4-9 5-7 15, Babcock 4-10 10-11 22, Wilkinson 3-10 2-6 9, Bunde 3-7 0-0 6, Novack 4-8 1-2 13, Jensen 0-1 0-0 0, Cassity 0-0 0-0 0, Alexander 0-1 0-0 0, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, TOTALS 23-61 21-30 79.

Bethel 27 38 —65

Kan.Wes. 41 38 —79

Total fouls — BC 24, KW 17. 3-point shooting — BC 7-15 (Muckenthaler 2-3, Phifer 0-1, Wood 2-6, Wilson 1-2, Wilkerson 2-3), KW 12-31 (Ekno 1-4, Santee 1-4, Babcock 4-8, Wilkinson 1-5, Novak 4-7, Jensen 0-1, Alexander 0-1). Rebounds — BC 46 (Anthony 16), KW 37 (Bunde 7). Assists — BC 9 (Anthony 3), KW 17 (Wilkinson 6). Turnovers — BC 20 (Wood 4), KW 10 (Santee 5). Blocked shots — BC 2 (Anthony 1, Wilkerson 1), KW 2 (Santee 1, Babcock 1). Steals — BC 3 (three with 1), KW 12 (Wilkinson 5).

KCAC Post-Season

Tournament

Quarterfinals

Thursday

(all games 7 p.m.)

8. Bethany (6-22, 4-14 KCAC) at 1. Sterling (24-4, 16-2 KCAC)

5. Friends (14-14, 9-9 KCAC) at 4. Bethel (15-13, 9-9 KCAC)

6. Ottawa (11-17, 8-10 KCAC) at 3. Southwestern (21-6, 14-4 KCAC)

7. Tabor (11-17, 8-10 KCAC) at 2. Kansas Wesleyan (27-2, 16-2 KCAC)

Semifinals

Saturday

(all games 7 p.m. at highest seed)

Bethany-Sterling winner vs. Friends-Bethel winner

Ottawa-Southwestern winner vs. Tabor-Kansas Wesleyan winner

Championship game

Monday

at Hartman Arena

semifinal winners 8 p.m.