2013-14 Women's Basketball
Manchester 51, Bluffton 50
By: Adriane Bruner, sports information assistant
February 6, 2014
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton women's basketball team struggled offensively throughout the first half before making a game of it late in the second as the Beavers hosted Manchester University on a rare Thursday night basketball game in the Sommer Center. The Spartans took the lead in the first half and held it until Bluffton went up 49-48 with 1:36 to play. However, the Spartans hit a putback with two ticks remaining and when a Bluffton free throw with 0.3 left rattled off, the visitors slipped out with a 51-50 victory. The Beavers fell to 11-9 and 7-6 in the Heartland Conference, while the Spartans moved to 10-10 (7-6 HCAC).
The first half started out slowly for both teams with missed shots and turnovers until three minutes in when ERYNN MEIKLEJOHN hit from in close, putting the first points up for the game. BROOKE RUFFER (Stryker) turned around immediately to hit a short jumper and shortly after followed it with a long-range shot for three and a 5-2 lead.
Bluffton stayed on top with more work from Ruffer and inside buckets for RACHEL BEINING (Ottoville) until Meiklejohn drilled a three, giving the Spartans a lead with just over eight minutes left in the half. Manchester continued to pressure Bluffton, and when KATIE ARTERBURN drained a buzzer-beating triple the visitors skated into the break with a 29-22 lead.
Starting the second half, JOCELYN HAMILTON hit a short range jumper to widen the Manchester lead which they maintained throughout most of period two. With just over seven minutes to play, the Beavers began to get back into the game with a four-point run from Ruffer which made it a six-point game.
Manchester struck back with a jumper for Hamilton, but the Beavers followed that with a 7-0 run with Ruffer and TAYLOR WHITAKER (Mansfield/Lexington) taking over as Bluffton knotted the game with two and half minutes left. With just two seconds left, ALYSSA SMITH followed a Katie Arterburn miss with a puback to take the 51-49 lead. The Beavers were fouled on the inbounds play with 0.3 seconds left in the game, but came up just shy on the final free throw.
The Beavers were led by Ruffer with her 12th career double-double, consisting of a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. Beining followed with her third career double-double of 13 points and a career-best 14 rebounds, including six offensive caroms. With 10 points, Arterburn was the only Spartan in double digits thanks to balanced contributions from each player in the Manchester victory.
Bluffton went 16-of-49 (32.7 percent) from the field, while Manchester hit 20-of-54 (37.0 percent). The Beavers proved to be more effective from the charity stripe as they were 17-of-22 (77.3 percent), while the Spartans went 7-of-13 (53.8 percent). The Spartans went 4-of-10 (40.0 percent) from distance, compared to Bluffton's 1-of-4 (25 percent) performance. The Beavers were more aggressive on the boards with 41 rebounds, compared to 31 for Manchester, however, the home team turned it over six more times (18-12).
The Beavers will make their way to Indiana for another conference game against the Franklin College Grizzlies on February 8. The contest is slated for tip-off at 4 p.m.