Abby Schmidt’s 23rd and single-game, record-setting rebound was the team’s most important during play Wednesday against Oklahoma Wesleyan at Thresher Gym.
Coming with .3 seconds left in regulation, her put-back attempt missed, but she was fouled on the play. Schmidt hit one of two free throws to give the Threshers a 67-66 win and snap a six-game conference losing streak.
Schmidt finished with 23 points, the aforementioned 23 rebounds, and six blocked shots, giving her 183 for her career, passing the record of 181 by Lisa Schmidt (no relation) from 1997 to 1999. Abby Schmidt broke a single-game rebound record set two other times by herself and once by Hannah Blackburn.
To top it off, Schmidt was named KCAC defensive player of the week for the week ending Sunday. In two games, Schmidt scored 36 points with 25 rebounds, three assists, two steals and nine blocked shots.
“It’s pretty cool,” Schmidt said. “It’s awesome to put your name in the record book, but it’s even better to win. My teammates were unselfish tonight. It was really hard work on the board. We practice finishing through contact every day in practice. We practice free throws. We practice every free throw like the game was on the line.”
Schmidt has 844 career rebounds, approaching Blackburn’s record of 910 from 2006 to 2010.
Bethel’s 61 team rebounds was four shy of the school record set in 2016 against OWU.
Bethel’s win came despite 30 percent shooting from the field. OWU hit 32 percent.
“To me, it’s part of the process of learning how to win,” Bethel coach Drew Johnson said. “In sports, you have to learn the lessons before you get in the win column. We’re learning how hard you have to play and what you have to do and how valuable every possession is. We went 22 of 46 from the free throw line and 19 percent from three. And yet, we rebounded over half of our misses and found a way to win.”
Alex Bearup had 15 rebounds for Bethel. It was Bearup’s third game this season, recovering from injury. Junior college transfer Macie Price made her debut after becoming eligible at the semester break.
“(Bearup) plays with so much energy,” Johnson said. “It was a night where she didn’t make a ton of shots. She had 15 rebounds. She has a toughness and a swagger, which we need. Getting Macie Price eligible was good. It was nice to get her on the floor. Those two kids have battled their tails off.”
OWU, 10-6 overall and 6-5 in KCAC play, was led by Danae Goodwin with 18 points, Makayla Watkins with 16 and Amanda Hart with 12.
Bethel managed to draw 30 fouls, but hit just 22 of 46 from the line. OWU was 14 of 28 from the line.
Bethel fell behind 10-2 early in the game. The Threshers got back within two, only to see the Eagles pull back out by eight. Bethel cut the deficit to five at the end of the period, 19-14. Bethel was just three of 20 shooting in the period.
The Threshers started hitting shots in the second quarter, aided by Wesleyan foul trouble. A Kayla Newman layup with 3:41 left in the half tied the game. Newman followed with another layup. Bethel led 35-31 at the half.
Bearup opened the second half with a layup. OWU replied with an 8-0 run capped by a Hart 3-pointer. Neither team led by more than three in the remaining time of the period. Schmidt hit two free throws with .4 seconds left to put Bethel up by two. Watkins hit two for OWU with .1 seconds left to tie the game 51-51.
The game stayed close in the fourth quarter. A Bearup trey put Bethel up by three with four minutes in regulation. Brielle Hampton followed with a trey 44 seconds later.
“What I will give them credit for is they weren’t scared to take them, even though we hadn’t hit them to that point,” Johnson said. “They were the right shot, open and we needed them to go in. They were back-to-back possessions. Those were big shots by players who needed to make big plays.”
OWU came back with a 3-pointer, but missed a pair of free throws with 56.2 seconds left. Bethel missed two free throws with 33.8 seconds left. Hart hit one of two free throws with 28.4 seconds left to cut the Bethel lead to two. After two more BC misses from the line, Goodwin hit two free throws to tie the game with 10.3 seconds to play.
Bethel got two shots off in the remaining time. After Schmidt’s free throw, the Eagles called the last time out of the game to get the ball at mid-court, but couldn’t get a shot in the final .3 seconds.
“If we hang around and battle, we have a chance,” Johnson said. “We had a great first half against Avila and had some letdowns. We had some rotational things that hurt us. Tonight, we got the lead at halftime and just kept battling.”
Bethel travels to York College at 3 p.m. Saturday in York, Neb. The Panthers are 1-15, 0-11 in conference play, falling to Sterling 83-61 on the road.
“You don’t go on the road in the KCAC and have anything less than a knock-down, drag-out dog fight,” Johnson said. “We’re going to have to continue fighting. Teams aren’t going to roll over for us. We have to continue to bring our best execution.”
OKLAHOMA WESLEYAN (10-6, 6-5 KCAC) — Amanda Hart 4-14 3-4 12, Danae Goodwin 6-11 4-6 18, Makayla Watkins 5-13 4-6 16, Nicole Ickes 3-6 0-1 7, Brittan Garrett 0-5 0-0 0, Ashley Cook 1-1 0-0 3, Essence Tolson 0-2 1-2 1, Caitlin Flackman 0-0 0-0 0, Desirea Williams 2-10 1-7 5, Cierra Johnson 1-5 1-2 4, River Jefferies 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS 22-68 14-28 66.
BETHEL (8-9, 4-7 KCAC) — Brielle Hampton 4-12 0-0 9, Josie Calzonetti 1-4 0-0 2, Kelsi Fitzgerald 1-4 0-2 3, Kendall Michalski 1-6 2-4 4, Kayla Newman 3-8 2-2 8, Alex Bearup 2-15 0-4 5, Abby Schmidt 5-7 13-24 23, Sydney Tenant 0-0 0-0 0, Melinda Vargas 2-7 4-6 9, Macie Price 1-4 1-4 4. TOTALS 20-67 22-46 67.
Total fouls — OW 30, BC 24. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — Hart-:00.3-4q. 3-point shooting — OW 8-22 (Hart 1-1, Goodwin 2-3, Watkins 2-7, Ickes 1-3, Garrett 0-3, Cook 1-1, Johnson 1-4), BC 5-26 (Hampton 1-3, Calzonetti 0-1, Fitzgerald 1-3, Michalski 0-4, Bearup 1-8, Vargas 1-4, Price 1-3). Rebounds — OW 48 (Goodwin 8), BC 61 (Schmidt 23). Assists — OW 6 (Watkins 2), BC 15 (Bearup 4, Price 4). Turnovers — OW 12 (Tolson 4), BC 15 (Hampton 5). Blocked shots — OW 2 (Watkins 1, Johnson 1), BC 7 (Schmidt 6). Steals — OW 6 (Goodwin 2), BC 1 (Michalski 1).