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McKENZIE — Fourteen home games highlight a loaded schedule for the Bethel University Lady Wildcats as the 2020-21 schedule was unveiled by Coach Chris Nelson this week.After dominating play in …
McKENZIE — Fourteen home games highlight a loaded schedule for the Bethel University Lady Wildcats as the 2020-21 schedule was unveiled by Coach Chris Nelson this week.
After dominating play in the Southern States Athletic Conference with an all-time regular-season record of 112-18, the Lady Wildcats move to the Mid-South Conference this season. Twenty-two of the games this year are against MSC teams.
Bethel finished 29-4 overall last year and 15-1 in the SSAC. The Cats were 60-4 versus SSAC opponents in Crisp Arena. Bethel won the regular season and tournament championships of the SSAC last year. The Lady Cats won 21 straight to complete their year and were ranked No. 6 in the nation in the final poll. It marked the 11th time in the last 12 seasons Bethel qualified for the national tournament. It would have been Bethel’s eighth straight appearance in the national championships.
The Lady Wildcats will travel to five different states as part of their regular season play. They face seven NAIA schools ranked in the final Top 25 Poll last year.
The Lady Cats open their season November 3 hosting Blue Mountain and meet Brescia November 7 in Crisp Arena. Bethel is 122-15 all-time in Crisp Arena. Bethel has beaten Blue Mountain 15 straight times and owns a 28-1 advantage in the series.
Bethel hits the road for the first time traveling to Blue Mountain on November 10. The Lady Cats play in the Dega Classic November 13th and 14th. They face Talladega College on Friday and Rust College on Saturday. Talladega finished No. 10 in the final poll last year while Rust was 24th.
Bethel opens MSC play hosting Cumberland University on November 19. Bethel owns a 16-10 advantage in the series. They travel to Lindsey Wilson on the 21st. The Blue Raiders finished 14th in the nation last season. Non-conference action follows with a home game against Williams Baptist on the 24th.
After the Thanksgiving break Bethel hits the road to the Commonwealth of Kentucky with games at No. 4 Campbellsville on December 3 and then at Georgetown on the 5th. The Cats close the year 2020 hosting Life University on December 31.
2021 gets underway against an old foe in Martin Methodist as the Lady Cats travel to Pulaski January 2. It will be the 34th meeting between the two with Bethel leading the series 23-10. Freed-Hardeman invades Crisp Arena on the 4th. It will be the 73rd meeting between the two programs. FHU holds a 23-7 advantage in games played since 2007.
The Cats travel to the Eastern Mountains of Kentucky playing at the University of the Cumberland’s on January 7 and UPike on the 9th. The longest homestand of the year follows with fourth straight game beginning on January 14 versus No. 8 Shawnee State. No. 21 Thomas More and Bethel will play on the 16th. It will be the first meeting ever between the two programs. Three straight home games await the Lady Wildcats next. The Georgetown Tigers will play their first game ever in Crisp Arena on January 21. The No. 4 Tigers of Campbellsville will invade Crisp two days later on January 23rd. The Blue Raiders of Lindsey Wilson come to McKenzie on the 28th. Bethel closes out the month with a trip to Lebanon on January 30 to face Cumberland University.
After a home game against Martin Methodist opens the month of February on the 4th, the Cats play four straight road games traveling to Life (6th), FHU (8th), Thomas More (11th) and Shawnee State (13th). Two home games close out the regular season with Pikeville on February 18 and University of the Cumberlands on the 20th.
The Mid-South Conference Championship will be held February 26-March 1 in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Coach Nelson enters in 15th season as head coach of the Lady Wildcats. He has a career mark of 317-142 which ranks him 15th among active wins in the NAIA. Nelson was named the NAIA Division I Coach of the Year last year. He is assisted by Mark Vaughn, Emmanye Robertson and Jennifer Nelson. Nelson commented on the schedule. “
Nelson commented, “At this point we are just glad to have a schedule. We know things can change in two days or two weeks but our girls are extremely excited for the opportunity to play this semester and getting back to a sense of normalcy. Obviously we are creatures of habit and we don’t have a playbook for these type of situations so we have been adapting the very best we see fit. It is a huge transition year for us, changing leagues, losing key players and two members of our coaching staff but the standard always stays the same. We have two great additions in Coach Vaughn and Coach Emanye and they have been great adapting so fast. We return some key big times players at major positions and added a very talented freshman class. We look forward to finishing the last half of 2020 season on the court and hope it as good to us as it was in this past spring semester.”
The Lady Wildcats will need to replace three outstanding seniors in Morgan Martin, Tyasia Willis and GeNashia Robinson. Martin and Willis were 1st team all-conference performers. Martin was SSAC All-Tournament MVP. Robinson was the SSAC Newcomer of the Year.
The Lady Cats return all-conference guard Tasia Jones and 2nd team all-conference player Mickey Head. Other top returners include Millie Bryant and Ashton Hulme. Several top newcomers will be expected to contribute.
All home games and selected road will be carried on WEIO, 100.9 and www.thefarmradio.com. Most home games can be viewed on Wildcat Vision at www.bethelathletics.com.