Mac women slam rival Bethany, make playoffs

By Steve Sell
February 21, 2014
McPherson College Sports Information

McPherson College’s women are in the KCAC playoffs.

The Bethany College Swedes are out.

Both teams were teetering on the brink of postseason play entering Thursday’s intracounty matchup at the Sport Center, but this one was a no-contest as the Bulldogs continued their solid play at home with a crushing 69-38 victory to celebrate Senior Night in style.

In clinching its tourney berth, Mac moved to 6-11 in the KCAC and 10-19 overall with a road game left to play Saturday at KCAC champion Southwestern. Bethany fell to 3-14 in the conference and 5-24 overall. The Swedes’ season ends on the road Saturday at Bethel.

"I thought five wins might be where we're at this year and we doubled that win total," Mac coach Gordon Reimer said. "I'm feeling really good how they progressed. With all the young kids we're playing, I just feel good about McPherson basketball going forward."

The Bulldogs sprinted out of the gates with the game’s first 11 points and they had a double-digit lead for the final 32 minutes.

"I think we continued on how we played on Saturday (in an upset of Ottawa), playing with some confidence and the players are doing a good job of executing everything," Reimer said. 

The Bulldogs were sensational shooting the basketball, as they picked apart the Swedes’ soft zone defense to the tune of 57 percent, making 26 of 46. Bethany was the polar opposite, making just 11 of 56 for just under 20 percent.

"We had definite advantage on the inside," Reimer said. "They're a lot of guards. We have to be discipline enough to get those inside shots."

Mac led 31-17 at the half and then Bailey Brown took over in the second half as the sophomore guard was everywhere.

Brown tallied 17 of her 19 points after the break, scoring inside against much-taller defenders while also displaying her range with some sharp 3-point shooting.

Aubrey Barton chipped in with 15 points and Cami Engelbert furnished 10.

Mac's Bre Gillespie, in her final home game, scored six points, pulled down eight rebounds, passed for seven assists and came up with two steals.

"Bre has really improved this year," Reimer said. "Her hustle and determination is kind of contagious for the other girls and we really appreciate that."

Ashley Carey was outstanding for the Swedes with 17 points, making 6 of 14 shots, while her teammates were just 5 of 42.

Mac (69) — Barton 15, Engelbert 10, Gillespie 6, Brown 19, Jefferson 6, White 2, Smart 6, Atkins 5.

Bethany (38) — Sullivan 2, Brammer 7, Austin 2, Madden 2, Rees 2, Gamboa 2, Bledsoe 1, Carey 17, Kerlikowske 3.