BETHANY - After picking up its first win of the season Monday night, the Bethany College women's basketball team will try to start off PAC play with a victory when the Bison host Waynesburg Wednesday night at 6 p.m. in the opening conference game of the season for both teams.
After dropping its first three games of the season, including a hard-fought contest at 4th-ranked Mount Union Nov. 20th, Bethany picked up its initial victory Monday by defeating Penn State-Beaver, 76-58.
After taking a seven-point halftime lead, BC used a 15-2 surge early in the second half to swell its cushion to 52-32 and go on to the win. Playing in their hometowns, senior Kayla Taormina and junior Taylor Verrico both dropped in 18 points. For Verrico, that set a new career-high, while Taormina made it a double-double with 11 rebounds.
The 76-point outburst came after Bethany had been held to 51 points or less in its first three games. The combination of Taormina and Verrico has provided the bulk of the scoring for the Green and White.
Taormina's big game Monday pushed her into 10th place in the conference with 12.8 points per game and Verrico is close behind with 12.0 points per game. The next highest scorer is freshman guard Mikyla Tipton (Wellsville) who is coming off the bench to chip in 6.3 points on 47.6 percent shooting from the floor.
The Bison are aiming to win their conference opener for the third straight season. Last year, BC went on the road to defeat Grove City 79-67 on their way to a 3-0 beginning in the conference.
While Bethany wants to continue its recent success in league openers, it will also be trying to turn its latest results against Waynesburg around. The Yellow Jackets swept the season series from BC last year by scores of 92-76 and 74-56 and Waynesburg has taken three of the last four match-ups between the programs.
The Yellow Jackets were one of the top teams in the PAC a year ago, going 20-8 and placing third overall to earn an invitation to the ECAC South Tournament for the second straight year.
This season, the Yellow Jackets are off to a 1-3 start overall and are lighting up the scoreboard with a PAC-best 69.2 points per game. The lone victory for Waynesburg was a 91-44 decision over Penn State Altoona, but most recently, the Jackets also fell victim to No. 4 Mount Union.
On Saturday at Waynesburg, Mount Union dominated the boards with a 63-44 advantage, including 30 offensive rebounds. A cold-shooting Yellow Jacket team made just 28 percent (19-68) from the field in suffering a 72-56 defeat. Guard Hayden Giuliani had a team-high 16 points and Brittany Spencer reached double digits with 11 markers and also hauled down a team-best six rebounds.
Spencer poses the top threat for the Yellow Jackets so far with 14.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, both team-highs. Giulani is just short of double figures with 9.8 points per game and guard Jessi Drayer, who is a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line so far, is putting up 8.0 points and a team-leading 3.0 assists per game. The Yellow Jackets are aggressive on the offensive boards, grabbing 18.0 per game to rank first in the conference with Grove City.