Cox, Stuppy help Bethel to victoryPublished 9:42pm Wednesday, January 9, 2013
MISHAWAKA — Those who have been a part of Lady Pilot Nation for a while knew how Tuesday night’s game would play out… it was going to be physical, it was going to be ugly and probably was going to come down to the wire.
In a meeting of two of the NAIA’s top 20 teams, the 15th-ranked Lady Pilots defeated the 20th-ranked Marian Knights 57-56 in a game that literally came down to the final buzzer when Marian’s Adrienne Sahm canned a shot with no time left. The Knights thought they had sent the game into overtime with a tying trifecta but Sahm had actually stepped on the three-point line and the game was over, much to the chagrin of the home crowd.
The outcome of the game would ultimately be decided in large part by two Lady Pilots from the bench in Niles’ Baysia Cox and Alyshia Harvey, who both rose to the occasion on this night.
The first half was a horrid affair offensively for both teams as solid defense and poor shooting led to a measly 25-22 lead for Bethel. Both teams shot under 37 percent from the field in the opening stanza and the two teams combined for 22 turnovers. Harvey and Cox both scored eight points of the bench, with Bethel’s Georgia Boisse missing the final 15 minutes of action with foul trouble.
The second half remained close until Bethel’s mini-run gave it a 10-point lead with 9:30 left on the clock. Marian returned the favor and actually took a one point lead with 1:37 remaining before Dowagiac’s Katy Stuppy connected on four straight charity tosses to give Bethel the cushion it needed at the end.
Harvey led the way with 14 points, including 3-for-3 from downtown. Stuppy added 12 points and six rebounds, while Ashlee Ort collected 10 points and five rebounds. Cox, who spotted Boisse, scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds.
“This was a great win on the road against a very good and ranked Marian team,” Bethel coach Jody Martinez said. “They did an outstanding job of shutting down Laura and defending our three point shooting, but this team found a way to win. Our bench play was key again tonight especially the efforts from Harvey and Baysia. Katy hit some key free throws late in the game and attacking the basket. Now we have one day to prepare for Grace as we play at home on Thursday,” added Martinez.
The win improved the Lady Pilot’s overall record to 15-3 on the season and 5-1 in the Crossroads League. In addition, the women’s basketball program earned career victory No. 500 in their 37 year history. The Lady Pilots began intercollegiate play in 1976 and in their first 22 seasons had a total of 140 victories before Martinez took over the reins in 1998. In those 14-plus years, Martinez has guided Bethel to 360 wins, including 20-plus victories over the entire span of his leadership. Bethel will get a shot at No. 501 when they host Grace College Thursday night at 7 p.m. before travelling to NAIA No. 1 IWU on Saturday.