The Bethel College women’s basketball team broke a four-game losing skid just in time, stopping Saint Mary 70-53 Thursday at Thresher Gym in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play. Bethel played its first game in nine days, improving to 4-5 overall. USM falls to 4-5 overall. It was the fourth straight loss for the Spires. “It’s a 40-minute game — not a 10- or 20-minute game,” Bethel coach Mark Fox said. “We’ve talked about it before. We’re a young team that’s going to have some ups and downs this season — sometimes in the same game. We responded. When we needed a basket, we got it. When we needed a stop, we got it.” Bethel’s biggest struggle was ball handling, turning the ball over 24 times. “We didn’t always value the basketball,” Fox said. “We sometimes tried to make the great plays instead of the easy plays. It’s frustrating for me at times. It’s part of the growing process.” Bethel was led by Katie Regier with 12 points. Lauren Ulrich scored 11 points, nine in the second half. Samantha Wilkerson scored 10 points. Kendra Scott had 12 rebounds, falling two points shy of a double-double. “(Balance) makes it hard for other teams to guard you,” Fox said. “I would like to see more production out of Lauren. You can tell people are making a concerted effort to take her out of games. It’s part of her growing process. She’s a smart kid. She has a great basketball IQ.” Regier played her second game since joining the team at the end of the volleyball season. “It’s a pretty hard transition,” Regier said. “It gets easier every year. We’ve put in a lot of new plays this year, so there’s been a lot of repetition. That is very helpful. My teammates are great. They’ve been helping me a lot.” “I’m glad to have Kate back,” Fox said. “She’s a great addition from volleyball. She’s expanded her game. That’s what we asked her to do over the summer — at least be a threat to score. So far, she’s done it.” A Remington High graduate, Regier is just one of two juniors on the squad (no seniors), and one of just four players who saw much playing time last year. “It has been a lot different, but our team has come together really well,” Regier said. “Our team’s ability level is pretty even across the board. That’s helpful. Everyone feels like they are adding to the team.” Seven Thresher turnovers in the first 6 1/2 minutes of play allowed the Spires to take a 13-5 lead. Down 16-7, Bethel made a 17-3 run capped by a Brianna Zerger trey. A Zerger layup off her own steal at the first-half buzzer put the Threshers up 30-20. “We had six or seven turnovers in our first 12 possessions,” Fox said. “We were fortunate not to be down more than we were. I think in the last eight or nine minute, we went on an 18-1 run. That’s because we took care of the basketball.” Bethel was 11 of 27 shooting in the first half. Saint Mary was four of 29. Bethel opened the second half on a 12-2 run. Bethel turnovers then allowed Saint Mary back in the game with a 10-0 Spire run. Haley Bright broke the run with a three-point play with 9:48 left in regulation. A Jessica Ebenkamp three-point piay with 6:28 in regulation put Bethel up 13. Samantha Wilkerson followed with a jump shot off a steal. Bethel plays at 5 p.m. Saturday at Bethany, which fell to 1-8 after a 67-53 loss to McPherson. “They are very similar to Saint Mary,” Fox said. “They play a lot of inside-out. They give their posts a lot of touches. This was great preparation for that. My biggest concern is we play this after the Christmas Gala Friday. We’re like 0-7 in games after the Christmas Gala, and it’s not because we’re playing teams like KU, North Carolina and Duke.”
SAINT MARY (4-5, 0-1 KCAC) — Mattox 1-8 3-5 5, Hooker 0-3 0-0 0, VanNess 1-6 2-2 5, Ezeh 2-4 6-6 10, Harmon 1-6 0-0 2, Zaldivar 0-0 0-0 0, Weege 3-8 3-3 12, Warren 0-0 1-2 1, Rowan 0-1 0-0 0, Marx 0-1 2-4 2, Watson 1-6 2-2 4, Gordon 0-0 1-2 1, Glorioso 0-2 0-0 0, Stallbaumer 2-9 4-4 8, Epping 1-1 1-1 3, TOTALS 12-55 25-31 53. BETHEL (4-5, 1-0 KCAC) — Scott 3-8 2-2 12, Durant 1-8 1-2 3, Ebenkamp 1-3 3-4 5, Ulrich 3-7 4-4 11, Wilkerson 3-5 4-6 10, Goniea 1-1 0-0 2, Regier 4-6 4-6 12, Zerger 3-4 0-3 8, Doerksen 0-0 0-0 0, Brit.Bates 0-0 0-0 0, Tschetter 2-4 2-4 6, Bright 1-3 3-3 5, TOTALS 22-49 23-34 70. St.Mary 20 33 —52 Bethel 30 40 —70 Total fouls — SM 26, BC 19. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — SM: Mattox. 3-point shooting — SM 4-22 (Mattox 0-1, VanNess 1-6, Harmon 0-3, Weege 3-7, Rowan 0-1, Glorioso 0-1, Stallbaumer 0-3), BC 3-5 (Ulrich 1-1, Wilkerson 0-1, Zerger 2-2). Rebounds — SM 30 (Mattox 8), BC 46 (Scott 12). Assists — SM 8 (Ezeh 5), BC 13 (Regier 4). Turnovers — SM 24 (Watson 5), BC 24 (Durant 4, Regier 4). Blocked shots — SM 1 (Hooker 1), BC 4 (Tschetter 2). Steals — SM 12 (Weege 3), BC 13 (Zerger 4).