2013-14 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 71, RHIT 61
By: Blade Tackett, sports information assistant
February 15, 2014
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women’s basketball team clinched its first Heartland Conference tournament berth in five years on Saturday, Feb. 15, in Sommer Center against Rose-Hulman. The Beavers turned up the pressure as they forced Rose into 28 turnovers, 21 (season best) of them being steals that led to 27 total points off miscues. The home team also cashed in for 17 second chance points and 14 off fast break buckets.
Rose started out quickly in the first, bolting to a 26-14 lead in the first 12 minutes as the bulk of their tallies came from five feet and in while Bluffton struggled to put anything through the hoop. RHIT continued to control the game as they went up by 11 with three minutes left in the first half. Bluffton cranked up the heat the last three minutes, led by Belicia Cooper (Painesville/Riverside) who came away with three steals and two boards in the final minutes. Bluffton stole the momentum before half with an 11-0 run to tie the game at 31!
Bluffton came out hot in the second, scoring a quick five points with a three from Taylor Knight (Perrysburg) and a steal and layup by Brooke Ruffer (Stryker). Although the turnovers for Rose added up, they were still able to hang around until the seven-minute mark. A Ruffer layup and then seven straight points for Kaitlyn Pennekamp (Hamilton/Ross) put Bluffton up 10 with five minutes to go. The rest of the game belonged to Bluffton as they received contributions from everyone on both ends, including two huge Taylor Whitaker (Mansfield/Lexington) triples in the final 3:30. The final score showed Bluffton 71 and Rose-Hulman 61!
Rose-Hulman was led offensively by Sheree Williams with 13, Josie Schmidt with 11 and Abbie Marshal with 10 points and 13 boards. Gracie Gibbs also pulled down 10 boards. Rose shot 24-of-52 from the field (46.2 percent), 4-of-10 (40 percent) from deep and 9-for-10 (percent) from the stripe. They totaled 43 rebounds, 17 assists and eight steals. Rose fell to 8-15 overall and 6-10 in the HCAC.
Kaitlyn Pennekamp got back to her scoring ways as she led the Beaver attack with a career-high 22 points on 9-of-19 shooting. Taylor Whitaker contributed 12 on 4-of-5 shooting from deep. Ruffer also had 12 while Knight chipped in with 11. Bluffton was led defensively by Kaitlyn Pennekamp who had a career-high six steals, followed by Cooper with five and Ruffer with four thefts. The Beavers got great minutes from Abby Jerger (Middletown/Madison) who distributed a career-best seven assists.
The Beavers shot 26-of-68 from the field (38.2 percent), 6-of-15 (40 percent) from distance and 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) from the foul line. Bluffton finished with 30 rebounds, 21 assists, only 11 turnovers and five blocks. The Beavers improved to 13-10 overall and 9-7 in the HCAC.
Bluffton welcomes Earlham College to the Sommer Center on Wednesday, Feb. 19. The Heartland Conference contest is slated for 7:30 p.m.