McPherson College’s women’s basketball team has been lights-out at home, but the light had yet to go off on the road until Tuesday.
The Bulldogs, 5-0 at the friendly Sport Center confines, had lost their first two road games, but they finally cleared that hurdle at Hahn Gym with a 62-53 victory over county rival Bethany College.
The triumph improved Mac to 2-1 in the KCAC and 6-2 overall, while the Swedes fell to 1-2 and 4-5.
“Until we can start winning games on the road we can’t take the next step up,” Mac coach Gordon Reimer said. “This was something we talked about. It was a big win.”
The Bulldogs had to overcome a slow start that put them eight points down early in the second quarter, but three straight 3-pointers by Sonerka White propelled them into a lead they would never relinquish.
“I was really disappointed in our intensity on defense. I called an early timeout and put in some different players to shake that up,” Reimer said. “I thought after that we came to play.”
White had 13 points in the first half as the Bulldogs were up just 31-29, but Brooklyn Coe then had one of her patented big quarters, scoring 9 in the third, to widen the gap and the Bulldogs never allowed the Swedes to get as close as six.
White finished with 17 points and Coe scored 14. Cami Richardson gave Mac three players in double figures as she had 12, along with 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Former Canton-Galva star Cassidy Enns was a force down low with 13 points and 8 rebounds to lead the Swedes. Mac did a nice job on high-scoring Bethany guards Marissa Pope and Sarah Bartel as Pope scored just 7 and Bartel tallied just 2.
The Bulldogs are off until Nov. 29 with they host Southwestern, which is led by Jordyn Miller, widely regarded as the KCAC’s best player. Bethany is playing a game this morning against Central Christian College.
Mac (62) — Holt 8, Battle 2, White 17, Coe 14, Richardson 12, VanDonselaar 1, Milum 6, Zimmerman 2.
Bethany (53) — Enns 13, Ahaneku 9, Bartel 2, Pope 7, Welsch 7, Wortham 2, Wright-Fredrick 3, Peters 1, Hendrickson 3, Miller 3, Tyson 3.
• BETHANY MEN 78, MAC 60 — Bethany freshman point guard Isiah Saenz doesn’t look like he’s even old enough to drive.
But the baby-faced assassin was the catalyst for the Swedes’ victory, which improved them to 1-2 in the KCAC and 4-6 overall.
Saenz put on a dazzling performance with 14 points and 5 assists as he pushed the tempo and flummoxed the defense with his fancy no-look passes.
Tyler Larkin led the Swedes with 17 points and Thomas Hood tallied 14 as Bethany took command of the game midway through the first half after a technical foul on the Bulldogs. It was 21-17 at the time and the Swedes outscored Mac 25-13 the rest of the half for a 46-30 lead. Bethany kept the margin at 15 to 20 most of the second half.
The Bulldogs, already missing two injured starters since the first game of the season, were without another starter, Careino Gurley, who is now out for the season with a shoulder injury. Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber, whose team is now 0-3 in the KCAC and 1-6 overall, is trying to cobble together a team the best he can, but the injuries have sapped the Bulldogs.
Guards Grant Raleigh and Garrett Owen scored 15 points apiece. The Bulldogs turned it over a whopping 24 times and shot just 35 percent.
Mac is home on Saturday to take on Baker in a 4 p.m. matinee. Bethany is off until Nov. 29 when it hosts Friends.
Mac (60) — Carter 2, Watts 8, Owen 15, Raleigh 15, Bachura 6, Vogt 2, Oxford 2, Munson 7, Wolters 3.
Bethany (78) — Milosevic 8, Brown 3, Larkin 17, Hood 14, Kelly 9, Jean-Charles 4, Saenz 14, Stephens 3, Dickenson 4, Batman 2.