The Bethel College women’s basketball team was dominant in the first 4 1/2 minutes against the University of Saint Mary Saturday in KCAC play at Thresher Gym.
The problem was, the offense stalled out in the next 25 1/2 minutes in a 63-57 Thresher loss.
“We talked a lot about the game plan,” Bethel coach Drew Johnson said. “We executed the game plan really well. That’s a team scoring a lot of points a game. We held them below their average. Fourteen of 28 from the free throw line is hard to overcome. Part of our growth is we’re scoring a lot better. That was a good team we played. We just have to keep at it.”
The Spires were eight of nine from the line. Bethel had 21 turnovers to six for USM. Bethel did outshoot USM 40.4 percent to 35.7 percent and outrebounded the Spires 41-25.
Candy De Los Reyes led the Spires with 17 points. Tiani White scored 12 points off the bench. Sienna Brown and Ashley Hinkel each scored 10 points. USM improves to 14-10, 11-7 in KCAC play.
Bethel was led by Abby Schmidt with 23 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots. Schmidt now has 237 rebounds. With five games remaining, Schmidt needs 58 boards to tie the single-season record set by April Harpe back in the 2014-15 season. Schmidt is 21 rebounds shy of the single-season offensive rebound record, also held by Harpe. She is 45 off the defensive record held by Hannah Blackburn in the 2009-10 season.
Jade Brown scored 16 points and Kelsey Potter added 14. The rest of the team scored just four points.
Bethel jumped out to a 15-4 lead, but didn’t score for the final 4:23 of the period, allowing a pair of Spire 3-pointers in the remaining time.
The Spires continued their run by four points into the second quarter. An Ashley Hinkel jumper with 5:30 left in the half gave Saint Mary its first lead of the game. The Spires led by as many as three, but the Threshers were able to tie it. A Hinkel trey and a White layup off a steal on the inbounds, all in the final 10 seconds of the quarter, put the Spires up 30-25.
Bethel had 12 turnovers in the first half to there for USM. Bethel was outscored 12-3 from 3-point range.
USM extended its run by four points to start the second half. The Spires led by as many as 12 early in the third quarter. Bethel got back within five. The Spires replied with a 6-0. Bethel got back within six at the end of the quarter, 44-38.
The Spires picked up three fouls in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Schmidt hit one of two free throws. Jade Brown then hit a layup in transition off a rebound. J’Daijon Sumpter followed with one of two free throws. Hinkel broke the run with a trey to get the Spires up by five with 7:18 in regulation.
A Jade Brown trey got Bethel to within a point with 4:45 in regulation. A Potter trey 41 seconds later tied the game 51-51.
Saint Mary regained the lead on a pair of free throws and a layup.
A Schmidt three-point play with 57 seconds to play got Bethel within one. Sienna Brown hit a seven-foot jumper for USM 21 seconds later. Schmidt missed two free throws with 23 seconds remaining. Kelsey Switzer hit two free throws with 17.7 seconds left to put USM up by five. Jade Brown hit one of two free throws for Bethel 5.3 seconds later.
Bethel drops to 9-17, 5-13 in KCAC play. With four games remaining, Bethel is three games behind McPherson for the eighth and final playoff spot. Bethel hosts Ottawa at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The Braves are 8-16, 6-12 in KCAC play, beating McPherson 69-67.
“One of the things we’ve been able to talk about for the first time in a long time is making a run for that eighth playoff spot,” Johnson said. “If we would have won tonight, it would have been helpful. We just need to keep getting better and play better basketball than we did at the beginning of the year.
“Ottawa is good. They have some players playing well right now. We’re going to have to compete hard. It will be nice to play at home again.”
SAINT MARY (14-10, 11-7 KCAC) — Tiani White 4-13 2-2 12, Danielle Cassady 0-0 0-0 0, Candy De Los Reyes 7-12 2-2 17, Ashley Hinkle 4-7 0-0 10, Carly Bohannon 1-1 0-0 2, Sienna Brown 5-12 0-0 10, Rachel Newquist 2-6 0-0 4, Kelsey Switzer 0-3 2-2 2, Janae Barnes 1-5 2-2 4, Kiera Tate 1-11 0-1 2. TOTALS 25-70 8-9 63.
BETHEL (9-17, 5-13 KCAC) — Karlie Schroeder 0-2 0-0 0, Ciara McKinney 0-1 0-0 0, Riley Schmieder 0-2 0-0 0, J'Daijon Sumpter 1-6 2-3 4, Jade Brown 5-12 5-8 16, Kelsey Potter 4-10 2-3 14, Abby Schmidt 9-13 5-14 23, Kylee Schunn 0-0 0-0 0, Erica Ebenkamp 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS 19-47 14-28 57.
Total fouls — USM 22, BC 14. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — USM: Newquist :23.0-4Q. 3-point shooting — USM 5-18 (White 2-6, De Los Reyes 1-3, Hinkle 2-5, Switzer 0-1, Barnes 0-2, Tate 0-1), BC 5-13 (Schroeder 0-2, Sumpter 0-1, J.Brown 1-1, Potter 4-8, Ebenkamp 0-1). Rebounds — USM 25 (S.Brown 6), BC 41 (Schmidt 15). Assists — USM 11 (Hinkle 4), BC 11 (Sumpter 6). Turnovers — USM 6 (S.Brown), BC 21 (J.Brown 8). Blocked shots — USM 3 (White 1, Brown 1, Switzer 1), BC 5 (Schmidt 3). Steals — USM 9 (White 3), BC 3 (Brown 1, Potter 1, Schunn 1).