MINNEAPOLIS – Everyone who entered Si Melby Hall in Minneapolis knew they were in for a good top 25 battle between two teams who hadn't dropped a conference game yet. The Royals, who were No. 23 in the D3hoops.com poll and No. 15 in the WBCA, overcame a slow start knocking down key free throws late defeating No. 11/24 Augsburg, 74-70.
Going 23-of-34 (67.6 percent) from the charity stripe, Bethel remains perfect on the year moving to 12-0 overall and 7-0 in the MIAC. The Royals battle for the top spot in the MIAC with conference unbeaten Gustavus Adolphus Saturday inside the Robertson Center at 3 p.m.
Senior forward Taite Anderson led all scorers with 18 points and five rebounds. Junior Elizabeth Schwarz rose to the occasion with 15 points and eight rebounds. Makenna Pearson got it done at the charity stripe going 7-of-10 en route to a 14-point night. Kat Brown-Erdal hit all four of her free throws and a three for 11 points.
The Royals held a 12 point lead after three quarters before the Auggies stormed back in the fourth tying it at 66 with 2:35 remaining. Schwarz and Haylee Barker connected on layups moving Bethel's lead to four before both knocking down free throws in the final minute.
Bethel's defense rose to the occasion denying the Auggies a pair of looks in the final 14 seconds hanging on for the hard fought road win.
The Royals combined to outscore Augsburg 51-30 through the middle two quarters. After getting off to a slow start where BU trailed 20-11 after the first, a layup from Brown-Erdal sparked an 10-0 run giving Bethel its first lead of the game. The Royals got to the free throw line late taking a 35-33 lead into the break.
Augsburg took the lead back but not for long as the Royals chipped away at the deficit. Pearson knocked down a three followed by a Barker three making it 55-48. Barker knocked down a pair of free throws just before the end of third giving the Royals their largest lead of the game at 62-50.
Story by Austin Lagesse, Bethel University Assistant Sports Information Director