GOSHEN, Ind. – Despite its best shooting game since the season opener, the Goshen College women's basketball team could not keep pace with #13 Bethel College, falling 80-65 in Crossroads League play Wednesday night.
The Maple Leafs hit 26-of-58 (45%) from the field, out shooting the Pilots by more than three percent. They also out rebounded the highly-ranked local foe 35-31. One of the best 3-point shooting teams in the nation, though, Bethel hit 11 3-pointers and forced 26 turnovers on way to its third-straight win keeping them just one game back of league leading Indiana Wesleyan and Saint Francis.
"We certainly are frustrated with losing games and nobody wants to talk moral victories, but there is no doubt that we have improved as a team since we saw them last time," second-year head coach Stephanie Miller said in reference to an 86-46 loss in Mishawaka on November 28. "Our seniors remained calm, poised, and leader-like, while our young players continue to get big minutes of valuable experience and have been putting up impressive numbers at times."
Miller's team came out strong despite being the heavy underdog. They took 3-0 and 7-3 leads early on with four different players getting into the scoring column and five of their points coming on second-chance attempts.
Bethel, meanwhile, was using the long-range shot to keep pace. They struggled from the field overall, hitting just 2-of-11 from inside the arc in the first half, but struck on 9-of-17 (53%) 3-point attempts. Ashlee Ort and Alyshia Harvey both hit 3-pointers during an 8-0 run to put them up 19-13 with eight to play in the first period.
"We came out in a man defense and they clearly weren't expecting that," Miller explained. "It frustrated them enough to get off to a solid start. We brought strong defensive energy which was huge for us and though they hit some tough shots, we were really challenging them more than what they had seen from us in the past."
Later in the half, Goshen used their own 5-0 run capped by a Jaime Stack 3-pointer to trim the gap back to two (22-20). The Pilots, though, continued to excel from long range. Katy Stuppy, Chrissy Hooks, and Laura Johnson all got into the action, hitting 3s as the visitors closed the half on a 17-6 streak to take a 39-26 halftime advantage.
The second half was very balanced. Bethel maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way, but rarely increased it to more than 15 largely due to the second-half play of Liz Tecca. Tecca scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half, registering her highest scoring game since the second contest of the season (18).
Overall, Goshen had their highest scoring output since tallying 69 points against Grace on January 5. Sophomore Jaime Stack finished with a season high 18 points (one short of career high), including 13 in the first half, while freshman Jo'Mani Thomas posted her 11th double digit game of the season with 10 points.
"Liz and Jaime both had their best personal performances of the season," Miller added of her underclassmen. "Liz looked more aggressive to score and dished out some valuable assists while taking better care of the ball. She looked like our floor leader tonight. Jaime was just a 'work horse.' She did the little things tonight, like come up with loose balls, grab a needed board, and come up with a big bucket to stop a run."
Bethel finished the game hitting 41.4% from the field. The Crossroads League leading scorer, Laura Johnson, scored a game high 22 points, while Stuppy scored 16 and Georgia Boisse had 15 points and eight rebounds.
Goshen (2-21, 0-11 CL) will be back in action when they travel to #6 Saint Francis on Saturday.