HILLSBORO — The Bethel College women’s basketball team had one of its better halves of the season Wednesday in a 64-53 loss to 14th-ranked (NAIA Division II) Tabor in KCAC play in Hillsboro.

A 14-4 third quarter proved to be the Threshers undoing as the Bluejays improved to 6-2, 4-0 in KCAC play.

“I really believe we’re close,” Bethel coach Drew Johnson said. “We changed some things offensively to give us a few more chances at the rim. We put more pressure on them on defense. At the start of the season, we were shooting a ton of free throws. We kind of gotten away from that. We got back to that tonight.”

Tabor was led by Tristen Leiszler with 16 points. Morgan Ediger added 14 points.

Bethel was led by Abby Schmidt with 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.

“We played two nationally-ranked teams and lost to them both by 11,” Johnson said. “We’re a group that’s going to battle no matter who we play. Hopefully, someday we’ll get a team like that.”

Bethel scored first on a Schmidt layup. The Threshers then gave up a 16-6 run. Kelsey Potter got Bethel back in the game with a trey with 12 seconds left in the quarter to trail 16-11.

Down by eight early in the second quarter, Bethel got within three midway in the period. Tabor pulled back out by nine at the half, 36-27.

Tabor was 13 of 24 from the field in the first half, while Bethel was 11 of 19. Bethel was outscored 12-3 from 3-point range.

Tabor made a 10-1 run to start the third quarter. Bethel’s only points in the period came from the free throw line.

A Kylee Schunn putback to start the fourth quarter broke the Threshers’ drought from the field. Bethel drew as close as 14. Tabor pulled back away by as many as 19. Bethel made a late run to get back within 11 on a Karlie Schroeder trey off the backboard at the buzzer.

“We were just one step slow a couple of times,” Johnson said. “We had a couple of charges that turned into blocks. With an 11-point game, five plays and you’re there.”

Bethel falls to 4-6, 0-4 in KCAC play. Bethel hosts Kansas Wesleyan at 5 p.m. Saturday at Thresher Gym. The Coyotes fell to 5-5, 3-1 in KCAC play, after a 65-62 loss to Saint Mary on the road.

“They are a veteran team. They are a good team,” Johnson said. “They are well-coached. When they make shots, they are a very good team. We need to continue to attack the rim and put pressure on them.”

BETHEL (4-6, 0-4 KCAC) — Kylee Schunn 2-4 1-2 5, Ciara McKinney 2-3 0-2 4, J'Daijon Sumpter 3-8 2-4 8, Karlie Schroeder 3-6 0-0 9, Riley Schmieder 1-2 2-3 4, Michelle Schrag 0-1 0-0 0, Fantasia Johnson 1-2 0-0 2, Abby Schmidt 6-10 3-4 15, Kelsey Potter 1-4 0-0 3, Jade Brown 1-5 1-2 3, Karyssa Henry 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS 20-46 9-17 53.

TABOR (6-2, 4-0 KCAC) — Mollie Hawkins 0-0 0-0 0, Amber Bonham 3-8 1-1 8, Kristyn Wedel 3-5 2-2 8, Taylor Mires 0-0 0-0 0, Tristen Leiszler 6-10 2-2 16, Morgan Ediger 5-14 2-3 14, Taylor Deniston 3-4 0-0 6, Kelsey Unruh 1-2 3-4 5, Zenith Hernandez 0-0 0-0 0, Sammy Jo Peterson 3-6 0-0 7, Olivia Brubacher 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-49 10-12 64.

Bethel;11;16;4;22;—53

Tabor;16;20;14;14;—64

Total fouls — BC 18, TC 19. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — TC: Deniston 7:11-4q., Wedel 4:54-4q. 3-point shooting — BC 4-10 (Sumpter 0-1, Schroeder 3-5, Potter 1-4), TC 6-16 (Bonham 1-6, Leiszler 2-2, Ediger 2-5, Peterson 1-3). Rebounds — BC 32 (Schmidt 8), TC 27 (Leiszler 5). Assists — BC 8 (Sumpter 5), TC 12 (Deniston 5). Turnovers — BC 19 (Sumpter 4), TC 15 (Deniston 3). Blocked shots — BC 3 (Schmidt 3), TC 4 (Unruh 3). Steals — BC 3 (Schmidt 2), TC 7 (Ediger 3).