McPHERSON — The longer you keep an underdog in the game, the more confidence the underdog gets.

The Bethel College women's basketball team learned that lesson the hard way in a 61-54 loss to Haskell Indian Nations University Friday in the McPherson Invitational.

The loss sets Bethel back to 7-6. Haskell improves to 4-8.

"This was so disappointing," Bethel coach Mark Fox said. "We played with no focus tonight. We had no energy. We had no sense of urgency. We had 24 offensive rebounds, which is phenomenal, but we had just 13 second-chance points, so we didn't take advantage of it. We weren't very strong to the rim. We let their physicality bother us. We weren't closing out on shooters. I thought we played better defense in the second half, but they shot better than they did in the first half. We turned them over late and we cut out second-half turnovers down to five."

Kortney Meat and Jenine Coriz each scored 16 points for Haskell. Jennah Williams scored 11 points off the bench.

For Bethel, April Harpe scored 11 points with 12 rebounds. Lauren Ulrich and Samantha Wilkerson each scored 10 points.

Haskell hit from outside early, leading by as many as six. A three-point play by Jessica Ebenkamp off a steal with 10 minutes remaining in the half put Bethel up 20-18. The Threshers then gave up an 11-3 run.

"We turned the ball over three of the next five possessions," Fox said.

A Jennah Williams layup with 18 seconds remaining in the half put Haskell up 34-27 at intermission.

Bethel hit just 10 of 33 from the field in the first half, while Haskell was 12 of 28. Bethel was outscored 21-6 from 3-point range. The Threshers gave up 11 turnovers to eight for Haskell.

Bethel gave up a 5-0 run to open the second half. The Threshers got as close as 10, missing chances to get closer until Lauren Ulrich hit a trey in the final minute.

"The lesson these girls have to learn is they have to be ready from the get-go," Fox said. ‚ΔΆ They just played a zone and we stood there and just passed side to side. We had a couple of possessions where we got inside and didn't get a call, and let that bother us. We have to keep going in there and force the officials to make a call. We did that early, then just stopped."

Bethel closes out the classic at noon today against Dakota State, which downed host McPherson 54-53 to improve to 7-11 and snap a four-game losing streak.

"The only film I have on them is early in the year, where they pushed Midland (a team than handily downed Bethel early on). I wasn't focusing on them, so I'm anxious to watch them tonight. They have good guard play. They play hard. You can't look at comparing scores. We beat William Penn and William Penn beat Haskell pretty good. The thing I know about our team is we're going to come back ready to play."

HASKELL INU (4-8) — Stands 2-6 0-1 4, Begay 2-4 2-2 7, Coriz 5-11 2-3 16, Williams 4-9 3-5 11, Meat 6-9 0-0 16, Shield 0-1 0-0 0, Murphy 1-2 0-0 2, Warrior 2-7 1-2 5, Levier 0-2 2-2 2, TOTALS 22-51 10-15 63.

BETHEL (7-6) — Wilkerson 4-10 0-0 10, Regier 1-6 3-5 5, Zerger 1-10 3-4 5, Durant 4-14 0-1 8, Ebenkamp 2-5 1-1 5, Tschetter 0-3 0-0 0, Ulrich 3-13 2-2 10, Harpe 4-10 3-4 11, TOTALS 19-71 12-17 54.

Haskell 34 29 —63

Bethel 27 27 —54

Total fouls — HIN 15, BC 19. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. 3-point shooting — HIN (Stands 0-1, Begay 1-3, Coriz 4-5, Meat 4-6, Murphy 0-1), BC (Wilkerson 2-5, Zerger 0-5, Ulrich 2-8). Rebounds — HIN 43 (Stands 7, Meat 7), BC 48 (Harpe 12). Assists — HIN 18 (Coriz 7), BC 11 (Harpe 4). Turnovers — HIN 20 (Coriz 6), BC 16 (Durant 3, Zerger 3). Blocked shots — HIN 10 (Meat 6), BC 3 (Durant 2). Steals — HIN 11 (Begay 4), BC 10 (Zerger 3).