Bluffton 77, Goshen 69
Bluffton wins second in as many nights with 77-69 victory over Goshen
By: Aaron Mass, sports information intern
December 17, 2008
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team won for the second consecutive night, as it defeated fellow Mennonite institution Goshen College 77-69 on Wednesday, December 17, 2008. Freshman Beth Yoder (Marshallville/Smithville) led the Beavers for the second game in a row, draining 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. Yoder has buried 8-of-12 from distance in those two contests, an astounding 66.7 percent. Her 20 points established a new career high for the second consecutive night. The victory moved the Beavers to 7-3 on the season, while Goshen fell to 5-10. The 7-3 start by the Bluffton women is the program's best start since the 1991-92 team also opened 7-3.
Yoder opened the game with a three-ball, and freshman Emily Shellabarger (St. Mary's/Memorial) knocked down a jumper on the very next possession. The Beavers were off and running with a 5-0 lead and Bluffton never trailed in the game.
Junior Katie Lord (Toledo/Whitmer), recently back from a knee injury, buried a triple off a Shellabarger assist. On the ensuing possession, Lord found junior captain Ginny Buckingham (Bluffton) for an easy deuce. The layup made the score 12-6 at the 15:16 mark of the opening period.
Beth Yoder dialed long distance for the second time in the game, making the Beavers' lead 15-8. Bluffton's lead was comfortable until Goshen's Rachel Allen knocked down a jumper to make the score 19-17 in favor of the home team.
Yoder hit Shellabarger for a mid-range jumper to open a 29-24 Bluffton advantage. The Maple Leafs tied the game less than two minutes later when Stormy Holder hit consecutive tries from the foul line. The score after the charity tosses was 30-30 with 3:51 left in the half. It was the only time Goshen College forged a tie during the contest, as the Beavers led the rest of the game.
Junior Lindsay Ebbeskotte (Delphos/Jefferson) capitalized on her steal, draining a three-ball at the 2:52 point of the half. The scoring swayed back and forth until Alicia Amis (Woodstock/Mechanicsburg) was fouled in the backcourt with just two seconds to go in the half. The freshman knocked down both attempts to propel the Beavers to a 39-35 lead at the break. The Bluffton scoring effort was thanks to 15-for-27 shooting from the floor (55.6 percent).
Yoder kept the Beavers' lead at four with a layup on a dish by sophomore Kim Miller (Delphos/St. John's) early in the second half. Shellabarger swatted away the first of two rejections, and Ebbeskotte buried another three to make the score 44-39 with 17:31 remaining.
Goshen cut the lead to four points (48-44), but the Beavers had an answer again, scoring seven points in a row. The defense collapsed on Shellabarger, and she made the visitors pay. Her assist on junior Vicki Auer's (Cincinnati/Roger Bacon) three-pointer made it 51-44 with 14:20 on the game clock. The Bluffton lead swelled to 11 (55-44) when Shellabarger again scored in the paint following one of Buckingham's six rebounds.
The visiting Maple Leafs would not go away, as they scored the next seven points. A turnover and a foul by Bluffton kept Goshen within striking distance (55-51). Just like it had before, the home team circled the wagons. Shellabarger got another bucket inside before Miller snared one of her team-high seven rebounds and found Yoder for another bomb at the opposite end. Yoder's triple made the score 60-51 at the 9:11 mark.
Goshen was not ready to pack it in as the Maple Leafs cut their deficit to 63-60 with just under seven minutes to play on a deep three from Heather Hahn. The Beavers abruptly responded by going on an 8-0 push during the next 2:49. This spurt all but put the game on ice. The run started when Ebbeskotte hit from outside the arc. Miller then took the ball away from Goshen and hit Vicki Auer who converted an old-fashioned three-point play. Auer finished the run by knocking down a jumper with 4:09 showing, and the Beavers had a comfortable 71-60 advantage. Two more Auer freebies gave the Beavers their largest lead of the night with 3:05 left (73-62).
When the Maple Leafs tried to lengthen the game by fouling, Bluffton converted 6-of-7 from the charity stripe over the final 3:05. Two consecutive miscues also doomed the visitors toward the end, and Kim Miller knocked down all four of her free throws in the game's final minute. Hahn hit a free throw with 13 seconds left, but the Beavers held the ball for the remainder of the game and a 77-69 home victory.
The Beavers shot an impressive 27-of-48 from the floor in the game (56.3 percent) while pressuring the Maple Leafs into just 23-of-54 (42.6 percent). Bluffton's team effort included 22 assists and only 12 turnovers. The Beavers buried 9-for-13 from distance, an incredible 69.2 percent. Goshen converted on only 5-of-23 from beyond the arc (21.7 percent).
Bluffton was led by Beth Yoder's game-high and career-high 20 points. Her effort came on 8-of-9 from the floor. It marked the third consecutive game in which the freshman sharpshooter has canned four shots from downtown. She also dished out four assists. Shellabarger gave her usual effort of 14 points. Auer and Ebbeskotte each added 11 points. Ebbeskotte's total off the bench included a trio from beyond the arc. Kim Miller led the team with seven rebounds and seven assists.
Goshen College also had four players reach double figures in scoring. Heather Hahn came off the bench to lead the Maple Leafs with 18. Stormy Holder followed with 14 points, including a perfect 8-of-8 from the foul line. Next was Krystal Duensing with 13, while Cassie Greives chipped in 12 points and seven boards. Guard Kelsey Herschberger helped Goshen to a 30-25 Goshen rebounding advantage by ripping down eight caroms.
The Bluffton women return to action one more time before Christmas when the Beavers travel to Trine University on Monday, December 22. That contest will tip at 7:30 p.m. in Angola, Indiana.