Bluffton 58, Hiram 57
Auer hits two free throws with three ticks left for 58-57 win at Hiram
December 16, 2008
HIRAM, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's team led by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but it needed a pair of Vicki Auer (Cincinnati/Roger Bacon) free throws with three seconds left to pull out the 58-57 victory at Hiram on Tuesday, December 16, 2008. The Beavers improved to 6-3 on the season while Hiram fell to 2-5 following the one point setback.
Bluffton jumped out to an early 8-2 lead on the strength of a pair of Emily Shellabarger (St. Mary's/Memorial) buckets sandwiched around a Kim Miller (Delphos/St. John's) putback. A Katie Lord (Toledo/Whitmer) jumper made it 10-5 in favor of the visitors before Hiram answered back with six straight points for the Terriers first lead of the game at the 13:58 mark of the opening half.
Freshman Beth Yoder (Marshallville/Smithville) dialed long distance to give Bluffton a 13-11 lead. After a Caitlyn Ruese layin for the Terriers, Bluffton went on an 11-point jag that included two hoops by Shellabarger, a Rachel Daman (Defiance/Tinora) triple and jumpers by Beth Yoder and Kim Miller.
Alicia Amis (Woodstock/Mechanicsburg) and Yoder both hit from behind the arc late in the first half as Bluffton took a 32-23 lead at the break.
Shellabarger pushed the lead back to 11 with a deuce to open the second stanza and the advantage was still nine points after Yoder drilled her third trifecta of the game with 14 minutes to play in the contest.
Following the Yoder bomb, Hiram began to chip away at the Bluffton lead thanks to four turnovers during a three-minute span. An old-fashioned three-point play by Ashley Drum with just over eight minutes to play knotted the game at 44.
An 8-for-8 stretch at the line and a Ginny Buckingham (Bluffton) score allowed the Beavers to open an eight-point spread with 3:26 to play, but Hiram wasted no time formulating a response. Karris Kandel capped a nine-point spurt by the home team that put Hiram up 57-56 with just eight seconds to play.
Bluffton had one final parting shot for the Terriers and it was a pair of Vicki Auer foul shots with three ticks on the clock to give the Beavers a 58-57 victory over the hosts.
Beth Yoder came off the bench for Bluffton and delivered a career-high 18 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field, including 4-of-7 from distance. She also dished out three assists and pulled down two rebounds in 32 minutes of action. Emily Shellabarger just missed her third double-double, finishing with 14 points and nine boards on 7-of-13 shooting from the field. She also swatted away three Hiram offerings. Leading the way on the glass was Ginny Buckingham who tallied team-highs of 11 rebounds and five assists. Auer and Kim Miller combined to go 10-of-10 at the line. Miller nearly collected her fourth career double-double, ending the contest with 10 points and eight caroms.
Bluffton was just 20-of-51 (39.2 percent) from the field, but Hiram also struggled to a 25-for-66 (37.9 percent) shooting night. The Beavers drained six three-pointers, twice as many as the home squad, and Bluffton also converted eight more chances at the charity stripe (12-of-15 to 4-of-10). The battle on the boards was nearly even, 41-37 in favor of the visitors. The Terriers used 21 Bluffton turnovers to stay within reach until the final horn sounded.
Bluffton jumps right back into action on Wednesday, Dec. 17, when the Beavers host Goshen College. The contest is slated to tip at 7 p.m. in Founders Hall.