Down by two with 2.2 seconds left in overtime, the Bethel College women’s basketball team got an inbounds pass from Riley Schmieder to Abby Schmidt under triple-team pressure.
Schmidt was able to get the shot off and a foul, sinking the free throw for a 66-65 win over 23rd-ranked Tabor Wednesday night at Thresher Gym.
Tristen Leiszler put Tabor ahead on a layup with 3.3 seconds to play as the Bluejays overcame an eight-point deficit to force overtime.
“I got a great pass,” Schmidt said. “Riley got it right to me. I wouldn’t have had that shot without that pass. We had a couple of different things we could have done there. I just happened to get the ball. Anyone could have made that shot with that pass.”
“We had a couple of options on the play,” Bethel coach Drew Johnson said. “We had Jade Brown on the down screen, attacking the basket, and we had Abby Schmidt on the cross screen. Riley made a great pass to Abby, who got the basket and the foul. We got exactly what we wanted.”
The win was Johnson’s first over a Top 25 opponent at Bethel. The Threshers took a 10-point loss to 22nd-ranked Friends Saturday.
Bethel breaks a 12-game losing streak to the Bluejays, 13-8 overall, 10-5 in KCAC play. Bethel moves to 8-15, 4-11 in conference play.
“They are all important,” Drew Johnson said. “This is important to the program. Obviously, there are certain games that are important to the community. This conference is tough. We still have a lot of tough games left.”
Brown led the Threshers with 18 points off the bench. Schmidt scored 15 points with 10 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season. Fantasia Johnson added 14 points.
“Our coach is always telling us to push the ball and we did that tonight,” Brown said. “I was getting good screens and was able to get inside. My team was giving me a lot of space to move.”
Brown came to Bethel from Ellsworth Community College.
Taylor Deniston led Tabor with 16 points, followed by Amber Bonham with 13 and freshman Sammy Jo Peterson with 12.
Tabor opened the game with a 3-pointer, but Bethel replied with a 7-0 run. Bethel led 18-15 at the end of the quarter.
Bethel was outscored 7-2 to open the second quarter. Tied 25-25, Fantasia Johnson hit a three-point play, followed by a pair of Jade Brown free throws to put Bethel up 30-25 at the half.
After starting eight of 10 from the field, Bethel was 12 of 26 at the half. Tabor was 10 of 28 from the field.
Bethel led by as many as six in the third quarter, missing several chances to extend it. A Tabor trey cut the lead to three with 3:03 left in the period. Bethel replied with a J’Daijon Sumpter layup and a Schmidt three-point play. The Bluejays again got within four, but a Brown runner at the buzzer put Bethel up 43-37.
Tabor drew within two early in the fourth quarter. A Schmidt three-point play got Bethel up by six. Bethel then missed four straight free throws, allowing Tabor to get within three. After one of two Schmidt free throws, Krystin Wedel hit a layup to get Tabor within two 4:22 in regulation. Amber Bonham hit a layup with 3:06 to play to tie the game. Wedel followed with one of two free throw to put Tabor in the lead.
Brown broke Tabor’s run with a layup with 1:39 to play. Brown missed the free throw on the play. Wedel hit one of two free throws 20 seconds later to tie. Tabor missed two shots just before the buzzer, forcing overtime.
Bonham opened the overtime scoring with a trey two minutes into the period. Johnson then hit one of two free throws for Bethel. Bonham hit another trey with two minutes left in the OT. Bethel tied the game with a Erica Ebenkamp trey with 1:02 left in the period. Bethel got a steal, but missed a shot in transition. Tabor missed a shot with five seconds left, but got the rebound and time out with 3.3 seconds. Leiszler got loose on the inbounds play for the go-ahead layup.
After Bethel regained the lead, Schmieder blocked Tabor’s shot at the buzzer.
“Tabor is a very good defensive team,” Drew Johnson said. “They have some very good shooters. I have to give a lot of credit to Tabor.”
“We know we can beat teams,” Schmidt said. “We just have to play well as a team.”
“We just have to play with a lot of confidence,” Brown said. “We have to keep playing together.”
Bethel travels to Salina at 5 p.m. Saturday to take on Kansas Wesleyan. The Coyotes are 12-11, 9-6 in conference play. KWU fell to Saint Mary 69-68 in overtime. The Coyotes downed Bethel 51-36 in the first meeting.
“We’re not going to back down,” Drew Johnson said. “We’re going to come out to play every night. Kansas Wesleyan is playing well. We’re going to have to be ready to play.”
SCHMIDT HONORED AGAIN — Bethel College freshman Abby Schmidt took KCAC weekly honors for the fifth time this season, named the KCAC Offensive Player of the Week for the week ending Sunday.
In two games, Schmidt scored 61 points with 24 rebounds, a blocked shot and two steals. Schmidt fell three rebounds shy of a school record with 19 in a win over Southwestern.
“That really should be a team award,” Schmidt said. “It’s not just one person out there. I can’t do it without the guards moving the ball, without everyone playing defense.”
TABOR (13-8, 10-5 KCAC) — Kelsey Unruh 2-6 2-6 6, CJ Wilhelm 0-0 0-0 0, Annamarie Wilkin 0-2 0-0 0, Sammy Jo Peterson 5-10 0-2 12, Taylor Deniston 5-12 3-5 16, Tristen Leiszler 4-9 1-1 9, Kristyn Wedel 2-9 3-6 7, Amber Bonham 4-9 2-2 13, Olivia Brubacher 0-1 0-0 0, Alyssa Howard 1-1 0-0 2, Megan Voth 0-2 0-0 0. TOTALS 23-61 11-22 65.
BETHEL (8-15, 4-11 KCAC) — Ciara McKinney 0-3 2-4 2, Fantasia Johnson 5-10 3-5 14, Riley Schmieder 4-7 0-2 8, J'Daijon Sumpter 1-2 0-0 2, Jade Brown 7-15 4-7 18, Kelsey Potter 1-6 0-0 2, Abby Schmidt 5-10 5-7 15, Erica Ebenkamp 2-4 0-0 5. TOTALS 25-57 14-25 66.
Total fouls — TC 21, BC 19. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — Wedel :05.0-OT1. 3-point shooting — TC 8-18 (Wilkin 0-1, Peterson 2-4, Deniston 3-5, Bonham 3-6, Voth 0-2), BC 2-11 (Johnson 1-2, Brown 0-2, Potter 0-4, Ebenkamp 1-3). Rebounds — TC 32 (Leiszler 8), BC 37 (Schmidt 10). Assists — TC 16 (Deniston 5), BC 10 (Brown 4). Turnovers — TC 15 (Deniston 5), BC 19 (Brown 6). Blocked shots — TC 3 (Unruh 1, Wedel 1, Bonham 1), BC 5 (Schmidt 4). Steals — TC 10 (Deniston 5), BC 12 (Brown 5).