NORTH NEWTON — A fourth-quarter rally enabled Kansas Wesleyan to pick up another road win in conference play and, more importantly, move into a tie for first atop the KCAC standings with three games to play.

The nationally-ranked No. 18 Coyotes trailed by seven points midway through the fourth quarter but outscored Bethel 17-4 the rest of the way for a 63-57 victory over the Threshers.

Wesleyan improved to 21-6 overall, 19-2 in the KCAC and extended its winning streak to 11 games. The Coyotes are now share the lead for the top spot in the conference with Tabor and are a half-game in front of Sterling.

Tabor and Kansas Wesleyan will face one another in a 5 p.m. contest Saturday at Mabee Arena, with the winner taking over sole possession of first place with one week remaining in the regular season. The Coyotes last loss came on January 2 at Tabor.

Wesleyan’s biggest lead in the first three quarters was one point, a margin it held at halftime leading 27-26.

Bethel led 53-46 after a three-point play from Jade Brown with 4:53 to play in the game. The Coyotes scored the next 11 points and never trailed the rest of the way.

That 11-0 run included a pair of 3-pointers from Courtney Heinen, a basket from Lauren Flowers and a three-point play from Heinen that had the Coyotes in front 57-53 with 2:45 remaining.

The Threshers twice got within two points in the closing minutes, but two free throws from Gabbie Miller and two from Kayla Kivinski helped Wesleyan close out the win.

Heinen finished with 22 points, two shy of her career high set earlier this season in a win over York. Kivinski added 15 points, with Sydney Mortensen and Virja Lewis grabbing six rebounds each.

The 21 wins this season are the most for a Wesleyan women’s team since the 2010-11 season. Bethel, trying to hold on to a top-four finish in the conference standings, falls to 18-8 overall, 13-8 KCAC.

 

Wesleyan men 76, Bethel 73

The Wesleyan men also extended their recent win streak, but not until a last-second 3-point attempt by Bethel fell short at the buzzer.

The Coyotes are now 16-9 overall and 14-7 in the KCAC after their fifth consecutive victory. They also avenged a five-point loss to Bethel in December in a game played at Salina and have locked up a spot in the conference tournament starting in two weeks.

Wesleyan led 36-23 at halftime and never trailed in the second half, but had to hang on late when Bethel made things interesting. The Coyotes were up by 18 (61-43) midway through the second half and led by 12 after two Marquis Kraemer free throws with 1:03 to play made it 72-60.

The Threshers (13-14, 8-13) scored 13 points in the final 53 seconds and had the final shot after an offensive foul on Wesleyan with 4.3 seconds remaining. Garrett White, who made a 3-pointer on Bethel’s previous possession, was forced to take a long, well-guarded 3-point attempt at the buzzer that fell short.

After being named KCAC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, James Brooks had another big night for Wesleyan, scoring 23 points and topping 20 points for the third consecutive game. Kraemer contributed 16 points and five assists, with A.J. Range scoring 12 points and pulling down seven rebounds.

The Coyotes, who face Tabor at home in a 7 p.m. contest Saturday, matched their total wins (16) and conference wins (14) for all of last season.