2011-12 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 54, Manchester 50
Bluffton stuns HCAC-leading Manchester Spartans 54-50
January 18, 2012
By: Evan Skilliter, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Beavers earned their third straight HCAC victory on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, taking down the Manchester College Spartans, 54-50, in Founders Hall. The Spartans came into the game sitting at the top of the HCAC standings after a 39-36 victory over previously-unbeaten Franklin College on Saturday, but they fell to 11-5 on the season and 7-2 in the HCAC. The Beavers improved to 5-11 overall and 3-6 in the conference.
Neither team held a lead greater than four points during of the first half. Bluffton's first advantage came when Kylee Burkholder (West Unity/Hiltop) found Brittany Stegmaier (Garfield/Trinity) wide open for three, giving the Beavers a 7-4 edge five minutes into the game.
Mikayla Coburn (McGuffey/Upper Scioto Valley) hit a layup with 8:47 remaining, putting the Beavers up 15-11. Manchester regained the lead with 5:31 remaining in the half, but Bluffton knotted it up once again at 21 when Coburn hit Lauren Hutton (New Reigel) for a layup with 1:16 left in the half. A pair of Spartan free throws gave the visitors a two-point edge (23-21) as the first period ended.
Hutton tied the score at 23-23 less than two minutes into the second half with two free throws. She gave the Beavers the lead one minute later when Stegmaier found her under the basket for an easy lay-in. After Manchester drew even with two free-throws, senior Alicia Amis (Woodstock/Mechanicsburg) hit a three-pointer to give the Beavers a 28-25 lead with 16:41 remaining in the game.
Fellow senior Brittany Lewis (Springfield/Shawnee) gave the home team its largest lead of the game with a triple, pushing the Beavers ahead by six, 35-29, at the 13:57 mark. The Spartans were able to climb back into the game, outscoring the home team 13-4 over the next nine minutes for a 42-39 lead with 5:00 left in the game.
The Beavers tied the game once again when senior Rachel Daman (Defiance/Tinora) found Stegmaier for an open trey, knotting the score at 44-44 with 3:55 remaining. Bluffton finally took the lead for good as Hutton converted a hoop-and-harm which put the Beavers up 51-48. They sealed the victory with three makes at the charity stripe in the final 21 seconds.
Lauren Hutton ended the night as the game's leading scorer, falling just shy of a double-double with her 19-point, nine-rebound performance. She shot 7-of-15 from the field and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the line. Brittany Stegmaier also hit for double figures with 14 points. The senior pulled down six rebounds, handed out three dimes and blocked a career-high three shots. Alexandra Starkey led the Spartans with 14 points, shooting 5-of-13 from the field.
The Beavers shot 18-of-50 (36 percent) from the field, including 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) from behind the arc. The Spartans hit 16-of-52 (30.8 percent) from the field, missing their only three-point attempt on the night. Bluffton shot an impressive 13-of-15 (86.7 percent) from the foul throw line while Manchester finished 18-for-22 (81.8 percent) from the stripe. The Beavers committed three more turnovers (20-17) than the Spartans while being out-rebounded 36-34 on the night.
The Beavers will take the court again this Saturday, Jan. 21 (Alumni Day) when they go for their fourth straight conference victory against Rose-Hulman. The game is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Founders Hall.