2012-13 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 57, Manchester 49
Beavers stay in HCAC tournament hunt with 57-49 win over Spartans
February 6, 2013
By: Evan Skilliter, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Bluffton welcomed Manchester University to the Sommer Center on Wednesday, Feb. 6, looking to improve their record to 11-11 on the season. Strong performances from Lauren Hutton (New Riegel), Brenna Kurilec (Mt. Gilead/Gilead Christian) and Taylor Knight (Perrysburg) helped the home team do just that as Bluffton pulled away late to beat the Spartans, 57-49. The victory helped Bluffton (6-9 HCAC) pull within a game of both Manchester and Rose-Hulman for the fifth and sixth slots in the upcoming HCAC tournament.
After Manchester's Erynn Meiklejohn opened the contest up with a jumper, a Knight bucket sent the Beavers on an 8-0 run for an early 8-2 lead. However, another Meiklejohn basket propelled the Spartans on their own run as they outscored the Beavers 12-0 over the next six minutes to take a 14-8 lead at the 11:17 mark.
Knight finally ended the spurt with a jumper, and three minutes later a Taylor Whitaker (Mansfield/Lexington) three-pointer tied the score at 17 with 7:33 remaining in the half. The Beavers were able to push the score to 25-21 at the 3:43 mark, but Meiklejohn pulled the Spartans within two, 25-23, at the break.
Kurilec came out of the intermission on fire, scoring the Beavers' first six points as the home team opened a 29-23 lead. Manchester was able to stay within eight points the rest of the way and had a chance to tie it up at the 3:04 mark, but a missed foul shot helped keep the Beavers on top.
Clutch free throw shooting down the stretch played a huge part in Bluffton's second half effort, as the Beavers made 10-of-12 from the charity stripe during the last 2:11 of the game to seal the deal.
Hutton, Knight, and Kurilec all finished with 12 points. Hutton added 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Kurilec and Knight each finished with eight boards, a new career high for Knight. Brooke Ruffer (Stryker) also stuffed the stat sheet, tallying 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Whitaker and Carolin Baker (Bethel-Tate) scored seven and three points, respectively.
Bluffton finished the night just 20-of-58 from the field for 34.6 percent. The Beavers made 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) from behind the arc and 14-of-22 (63.6 percent) at the free-throw line. The home side collected six more boards (39-33) than the Spartans, and turned the ball over just 13 times, compared to 19 miscues for Manchester.
The women's next matchup will be this Saturday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m. when they welcome Hanover College to the Sommer Center. Bluffton's Alumni Game is slated for 10 a.m. that morning in the Sommer Center.