Franklin 77, Bluffton 41
Beavers fall 77-41 to regular season champion Franklin in opening round of HCAC tournament
By Bill Hanefeld Jr., sports information director
February 21, 2006
FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Bluffton University women's basketball team (4-22, 2-12 HCAC) fell to the Franklin College Grizzlies at the Spurlock Center in the opening round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament by a final score of 77-41 on Tuesday, February 21, 2006. The Grizzlies (23-3, 13-1) entered the tournament as the regular season champion for the third consecutive season and quickly demonstrated why as they rolled to a 38-22 halftime lead and never looked back. The Beavers four victories under first-year head coach Chad Shutler equals the most wins for the Bluffton women since the 2000-01 campaign.
The Beavers found themselves down 5-2 before Tanya Rickenberg (Paulding/Paulding) nailed a jumper off a pass from Lindsay Bush (Howard/East Knox) at the 18:20 mark of the first half. Franklin responded with a 10-1 run, including a pair of Courtney Swain baskets, to open up a 15-5 lead with 13:24 to play in the first half. Bluffton traded scores with the Grizzlies until Franklin tightened its grip on the defensive end and scored nine unanswered points to take a 17 point lead (30-13) with seven minutes left in the half. The Beavers trailed by only 15 following a pair of Amanda Bell (Napoleon/Liberty Center) free throws at the 5:23 mark, but Bluffton managed only two more baskets in the first half as Franklin took a 38-22 lead to the break.
The Beavers returned to floor colder than they left as Franklin outscored Bluffton 10-2 during the first five minutes of the second half to open up a 24 point cushion (48-24). Angie Lee (Mount Blanchard/Vanlue) hit a pair of layups to pull the Beavers to within 22 at the 13:38 mark, but Franklin proved to be unstoppable as the Grizzlies iced the game with a 20-2 explosion that put them up 72-30 with just over five minutes to play. Freshmen Lauren Fisher (Cincinnati/Turpin) and Lacie Sage (Big Prairie/Central Christian) combined for nine of Bluffton's final 11 points as the Grizzlies moved into the semifinals of the HCAC tournament with a 77-41 victory over the Beavers.
Rickenberg led Bluffton with eight points and six rebounds. She finishes the season as the seventh most prolific scorer in Bluffton University women's history with 935 career points. Senior Karin Schaller (Jenera/Arlington), Bell, Lee and Fisher all chipped in with six points. Lee, Bell and Schaller all pulled down five rebounds for the Beavers.
Bluffton finishes the 2005-06 season with a 4-22 record overall, 2-12 in the HCAC.