By Mark Schnabel
The Bethel College women’s basketball team suffered through three cold shooting quarters, but were still able to overcome a first-half deficit to down Bethany 58-49 Wednesday night in KCAC play at Thresher Gym.
Bethel finished the game 18 of 60 from the field, while Bethany was 16 of 60. Bethel did hold a 44-36 rebounding edge and blocked eight shots to just three for the Swedes.
“In the end, we’ve always tried to pride ourselves on defense,” Bethel coach Drew Johnson said. “We held them to 49 points, which is pretty good. I don’t feel like we shot it real well in the first half, so we had to compete all night long. I credit Bethany with their performance. They’re a really good team. They will make you give your best effort every night.”
Bethany entered the game receiving votes in the NAIA Division II rankings.
Jade Brown led Bethel with 16 points. Riley Schmieder added 12. Brown had five steals.
Abby Schmidt was held to seven points, but had 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots — a career high and just four shy of the school record set by Lisa Schmidt in 1998.
“I know if they double team me, my teammates will step up,” Abby Schmidt said. “Driving in, they are either going to foul or we’ll make it. That’s what happened tonight. It’s important to keep your head in the game and know you can impact the game in other ways than scoring.”
“Abby almost had a triple double,” Johnson said. “It was a good performance.”
Cassidy Enns led Bethany with 20 points. Newton High grad Sarah Bartel was held scoreless, but had six rebounds. Sena Atkius led the Swedes in rebounds with eight.
“It’s fun to play against old teammates like that,” Schmidt said of facing Bartel. “But the competitiveness also comes out as well. We were able to win tonight, which was exciting. … This was a game we really wanted to win. We didn’t like it that we lost to them twice last year.”
Bethel opened the game one of 11 from the field, allowing Bethany to take a 7-3 lead on three of 11 shooting. An Enns layup at the buzzer put Bethany ahead 11-5 at the end of the period.
Shooting didn’t get much better for either team in the second quarter. Bethel pulled within three early, but the Swedes were able to pull back out by as many as eight.
Bethel got back within two, but an Erin Richardson eight-footer with eight seconds left put Bethany up by four at the half, 22-18.
Both teams were still under 30 percent shooting at the half.
Bethel gave up the first basket of the third quarter and came back with a 7-0 run, taking the lead on a Karlie Schroeder three-point play with 7:12 left in the period. Bethel led by as many as nine in the period. Enns hit one of two free throws after the buzzer to get Bethany back within eight, 41-33.
Sena Atkius opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer for Bethany. The Threshers started struggling from the field again, allowing the Swedes to make a 6-1 run. Schmidt broke the run with one of two free throws with 6:43 to play. Alex Tyson hit two free throws on the other end 27 seconds later to get Bethany within two.
Schmieder came back with one of two free throws and Bethel’s first field goal of the period on a layup with 5:15 in regulation. One of two Schmidt free throws put Bethel back up by six with 4:19 remaining.
Schroeder hit two free throws with 2:23 remaining to put Bethel up by seven. Kendall Michalski followed with a trey. Enns replied with a three-point play.
The two teams traded free throws for most of the rest of the way.
“We tried to make passing lanes a little harder for this one,” Johnson said. “Rebounding is something we must win to compete.”
Bethel is 10-1, 5-1 in KCAC play, and plays at 5 p.m. Saturday at conference leader Sterling. The Warriors are unbeaten and ranked 13th in the NAIA Division II poll. Bethany downed Avila 58-55 Wednesday on the road.
“It’s a long year,” Johnson said. “I said this before the Tabor game. No game is more important than the next one. In the end, you have to take it a game at a time. They are ranked nationally, so it will take a good performance.”
While not a direct match-up, the game will feature Schmidt and Sterling freshman Kylah Comley. Both were All-Freshman picks last season. Comley edged Schmidt out for Freshman of the Year. Both are hometown players for their respective squads.
“Comley is a point guard and a shooting guard,” Schmidt said. “It was fun playing against her last year. They have a different team last year. It’s going to be hard playing them. It will be exciting. We’ll work hard these next two days. We’ll be focused and hopefully do some really good things Saturday.”
BETHANY (7-5, 3-3 KCAC) — Alex Tyson 0-2 2-2 2, Megan Hendrickson 1-2 0-0 2, Sarah Bartel 0-8 0-2 0, Allie Wright-Fredrick 1-1 0-0 3, Halei Wortham 3-9 0-0 7, Cassidy Enns 6-9 8-13 20, Erin Richardson 1-6 0-0 3, Sena Atkius 3-10 2-2 9, Kelsi Mueller 1-13 1-2 3. TOTALS 16-60 13-21 49.
BETHEL (10-1, 5-1 KCAC) — Bryanna Taylor 0-1 0-2 0, Alyjah Kennedy 1-4 2-2 4, Karlie Schroeder 2-6 5-7 9, Josie Calzonetti 0-1 0-0 0, Riley Schmieder 5-14 2-4 12, Kendall Michalski 2-6 2-2 8, Jade Brown 5-17 6-10 16, Kayla Newman 0-0 0-0 0, Alex Bearup 1-3 0-0 2, Abby Schmidt 2-8 3-6 7, Sydney Tenant 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 18-60 20-33 58.
Total fouls — Bethany 28, Bethel 21. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — Bethel: Kennedy 3:00-4q, Schmidt 1:02-4q. 3-point shooting — Bethany 4-19 (Bartel 0-1, Wright-Fredrick 1-1, Wortham 1-2, Enns 0-1, Richardson 1-4, Atkius 1-5, Mueller 0-5), Bethel 2-13 (Schroeder 0-2, Michalski 2-6, Brown 0-4, Bearup 0-1). Rebounds — Bethany 38 (Atkius 8), Bethel 45 (Schmidt 12). Assists — Bethany 4 (Hendrickson 1, Bartel 1, Enns 1, Richardson 1), Bethel 8 (Schroeder 2, Michalski 2, Brown 2, Schmidt 2). Turnovers — Bethany 18 (Atkius 4), Bethel 14 (Kennedy 4). Blocked shots — Bethany 3 (Tyson 1, Bartel 1, Atkius 1), Bethel 8 (Schmidt 7). Steals — Bethany 8 (Mueller 4), Bethel 8 (Brown 5).