McPHERSON — The third win in a row for the Bethel College women's basketball team was a sloppy, ugly affair, but a win none the less.

The Threshers took care of Central Christian 71-53 Tuesday in McPherson. It was a Bethel home game despite being played at Central because to Thresher Gym's floor construction.

"We played in spurts," Bethel coach Mark Fox said. "We were like a cat playing with a mouse. We got the lead up to 20, 22, then we step off the gas pedal a little bit. They get back within about 12. Then we'd pick it back up. At least we showed the ability to stretch a lead, but it drives you crazy when you don't take care of business."

Bethel improves to 5-2, winning three of its last four. Central falls to 4-8. Bethel sweeps the regular-season series 2-0.

The Threshers had a 42-40 advantage on the boards, but at times looked very sluggish rebounding. The Threshers had 20 turnovers.

"I thought we were standing, watching a lot of balls," Fox said. "We weren't attacking the rims. We're undersized, so we have to box out. We can't out jump people."

On the positive side of the ledger, the Threshers were 28 of 61 from the field and had 20 assists. Central was held to 16 of 59 and had 26 turnovers.

Bethel was led by Lauren Ulrich with 11 points. April Harpe and Brianna Zerger each had 10 points. The Threshers had several other players close to double figures.

"We had very balance scoring," Fox said. "Twenty assists is very good. That's probably a season high for us. Our high-low game was very strong. I think they're starting to get an idea of how to seal people, how to position themselves. Our guards did a good job of making good passes."

Bethel struggled with defense, turnovers, free throws and rebounding, falling behind as many as five points. A 10-Thresher run put Bethel up 20-15 with less than nine minutes remaining in the first half. Central scored the next five points, but Bethel replied with a 15-2 run.

One of two Katie Regier free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining put the Threshers up 35-25 at intermission.

Central was nine of 33 shooting in the first half, while Bethel was 13 of 30. Bethel was outscored 9-3 from 3-point range, but outscored the Tigers 9-4 from the free throw line.

Bethel opened the second half with a 9-0 run, but Central was able to get as close as 12. A Zerger trey put Bethel up 52-35 with 12:48 remaining. Bethel got back up by as many as 21. Central got as close as 13.

"Now that we have Katie, Bre and Rachael (Terbush) back from volleyball and soccer, we have our full compliment," Fox said. "We kind of stopped adding things two weeks ago, until we could bring our soccer and volleyball kids up to speed. We've been pretty close to the vest these last couple of weeks. We can now open things up a bid."

Bethel is off until Dec. 5, when the Threshers open conference play at 4-5 McPherson. The Bulldogs are on a three-game winning streak.

"Southwestern is strong right now," Fox said. "Cream of the crop. Friends is good. Tabor is good. It's just a tough conference. I haven't seen Saint Mary or Bethany play yet. Coach (Gordon) Reimer is back at McPherson. He's going to do a good job. It's going to be a battle every night."

CENTRAL CHRISTIAN (4-8) — Powell 5-11 2-2 12, Spence 6-18 0-0 14, L.Regier 0-6 4-4 4, Garza 1-9 5-8 8, Osovski 3-7 0-0 9, Pate 0-1 0-0 0, Richard 0-2 0-0 0, Rhodes 1-3 2-2 4, Alderson 0-1 2-2 2, O'Brine 0-1 0-0 0, TOTALS 16-59 15-18 53.

BETHEL (5-2) — Durant 3-9 0-2 6, Ebenkamp 3-4 2-4 8, Ulrich 4-11 2-2 11, Wilkerson 2-7 0-0 5, Harpe 4-7 2-2 10, Carter 0-1 0-0 0, K.Regier 3-6 1-2 7, Zerger 3-5 2-2 10, Tschetter 4-5 0-0 8, Chapple 2-6 2-4 6, TOTALS 28-61 11-18 71.

Cent.Chr. 25 28 —53

Bethel 36 35 —71

Total fouls — CC 19, BC 17. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. 3-point shooting — CC 6-26 (Spence 2-6, L.Regier 0-4, Garza 1-8, Osovski 3-6, Pate 0-1, Rhodes 0-1), BC 4-7 (Ulrich 1-2, Wilkerson 1-2, Zerger 2-3). Rebounds — CC 40 (Powell 11), BC 42 (Durant 9). Assists — CC 8 (L.Regier 2), BC 20 (Zerger 5). Turnovers — CC 26 (Spence 5), BC 20 (Wilkerson 4, Zerger 4). Blocked shots — none. Steals — CC 9 (Powell 4), BC 16 (Ebenkamp 4, Zerger 4).