Manchester 66, Bluffton 61 (2 OT)
Beavers fall at Manchester in double overtime, 66-61
By: Aaron Mass, sports information intern
December 3, 2008
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Bluffton University women's basketball lost a 66-61 double overtime heartbreaker to Manchester in its 2008-09 Heartland Conference opener. The contest was also the first in the HCAC for the Manchester College Spartans, as they improved to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play. The Beavers suffered their second loss of the young season and now stand at 4-2 overall and 0-1.
Freshman Emily Shellabarger (St. Mary's/Memorial) opened the Beavers' scoring with a layup. She got to the rim again two minutes later after the first of her two blocks. Fellow freshman Rachel Daman (Defiance/Tinora) converted an old-fashioned three-point play to give Bluffton an early 9-4 lead. Sophomore Kim Miller (Delphos/St. John's) pushed the lead to 11-5 when she scored and got fouled just inside of fifteen minutes.
The Spartans had a mini-run and the score stayed close until junior Vicki Auer (Cincinnati/Roger Bacon) converted two consecutive free throws to make the score 20-17 with just less than nine minutes to go in the first stanza. Manchester ran off the next six points before Daman knocked down a jumper after one of Kim Miller's 10 rebounds. The Spartans then converted a three-point play to take a 29-21 lead at the break.
The second half started with two Emily Shellabarger free throws and a jumper by Kim Miller. After digging a 33-25 hole with 16:56 to play, the Beavers responded with a 16-0 jag to take an eight-point lead, 41-33, with 8:43 on the clock. The run was fueled by a solid team effort, as Bluffton had five players score during the eight-minute span.
The Beavers' surge made it 48-39 with 4:13 left, the visitors' biggest lead of the night. Unfortunately for Bluffton, the Beavers did not score again in regulation.
The home team ferociously battled back as too many turnovers plagued the visiting Beavers. Manchester finally tied the game with 40 seconds remaining. After a timeout by Coach Shutler the Beavers turned the ball over, only to have the Spartans miss a layup with 10 seconds to go. The Beavers were unable to end their 4:13 scoring drought as the game went to overtime.
The first overtime period saw the Beavers commit consecutive turnovers, two of their 31 on the evening. The teams traded two free throws each until two more freebies by Manchester made it 52-50 with 51 seconds on the clock. Shellabarger came up big once again, as she scored the only field goal by either team in the first overtime. Her bucket made it 52-52 with 13 seconds to go and it sent the game to a second overtime period.
The second extra session saw even more ties and lead changes. Junior Lindsay Ebbeskotte (Delphos/Jefferson) got the Beavers on the board with a three on Auer's assist. Shellabarger converted a stickback of her own miss, tying the score at 57 with 2:50 to go. Daman found Shellabarger and she scored for the second straight trip to give the Beavers their last lead of the night at 59-57.
The Spartans then knotted the score with 2:00 left. Following an empty Bluffton possession, the Spartans converted two free throws. The Beavers once again responded when Auer sank a jumper to make the score 61-61 at the 1:10 mark.
After a timeout by Manchester, the Spartans' Kristen Lancaster hit a game-changing three with just 37 seconds left to give the home team a lead it would never relinquish. Bluffton was unable to answer and Manchester got to the rim for a layup which iced the game (66-61) with 10 ticks left.
The Beavers managed to battle until the final buzzer despite having four players play over 40 minutes, including Shellabarger and Auer who both logged 49 minutes.
Bluffton had three players in double-figure scoring. Shellabarger notched her first collegiate double-double with a dominating 20 point, 15 rebound effort. She finished 8-of-14 shooting from the field. Miller added her third double-double as a Beaver with 13 points and 10 boards. Auer chipped in with 10 points and a crucial block at the end of overtime number one. Daman contributed eight points, four rebounds and three assists.
Manchester also had three players in double-digit scoring, led by Kelly Meiklejohn's 19 points and seven rebounds. Her scoring came on 13-16 shooting from the foul line. Rachel Wilkinson chipped in 13 points. Sarah Bose led an all-around effort with 12 points and team highs of six assists and seven steals.
Neither team shot well from the field. The Beavers hit on just 22-59 from the field (37.3 percent), while the Spartans struggled to make 21-67 (31.3 percent). Bluffton converted 14-of-20 from the foul line, while Manchester hit on 20-for-26. Both teams struggled to take care of the ball as Bluffton had 31 turnovers and Manchester committed 24 miscues.
The Bluffton University women will travel to Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Dec. 6, to face the Rose-Hulman Engineers in another HCAC battle. The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and it will be followed by the men's contest at 3 p.m.