2013-14 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 86, Earlham 77
By: Adriane Bruner, sports information assistant
February 19, 2014
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton women's basketball team came out ready to avenge an early-season 67-38 loss at Earlham and the Beavers did just that, pulling away late for an 86-77 victory over the Quakers on Wednesday, Feb. 19. The Beavers improved to 14-10 overall and 10-7 in the Heartland Conference, moving into a tie with Manchester University for fourth place with one game to play! The Quakers fell to 11-13 (7-10 in the HCAC) and they are in danger of missing out on the Heartland Conference tournament thanks to Rose-Hulman's win over Franklin tonight.
The Beavers came out swinging with a long-range shot for three from BELICIA COOPER (Painsville/Riverside) and shortly added another two with an offensive board off a charity shot to put Bluffton up, 6-2. It did not slow down the Quakers as they took the lead after a hoop and harm from MAYA LUNEY put them up by two. KAITLYN PENNEKAMP (Hamilton/Ross) answered with a triple which made the score 13-12 in favor of Bluffton.
With just over nine minutes in the half, freshman sensation RACHEL BEINING (Ottoville) converted two shots from inside the paint before an old-fashioned three-point play put Bluffton up by six. TAYLOR KNIGHT (Perrysburg) and BROOKE RUFFER (Stryker) followed with fast break hustle plays to make the score 32-22. The Quakers had an answer and pulled within one point with just over a minute, but layups by Ruffer and Beining gave the home team a 37-32 cushion at the break.
Cooper started out the half with a bucket as Bluffton tried to pull away, but Earlham answered with a Lexi McFarland shot from behind the arc. The Beavers went up by 11 midway through the period, but Earlham refused to succumb as the Quakers pulled within two at the 6:48 mark following back-to-back Kasin Spay jumpers.
With just over three minutes remaining, the Quakers trimmed the deficit to one with a crucial jumper from HANNAH FRANKLIN and they stayed close until ABBY JERGER (Middletown/Madison) got free for a layup from Knight. With time winding down, Earlham was forced to foul as Bluffton bolstered its lead to cap an 86-77 victory.
Bluffton received huge contributions from everyone as all five starters went for double figures with Kaitlyn Pennekamp dropping in a career-high 24 points on a ridiculous 9-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Brooke Ruffer and Rachel Beining both posted double-doubles with Beining just three blocks shy of a triple-double! Ruffer finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Beining followed with 17 points, 13 rebounds and a career-best seven blocks on the night. Abby Jerger came off the bench and ripped down a career-high eight boards. Leading the Quakers was Maya Luney with 19 points.
Bluffton was a red-hot 31-of-62 (50.0 percent) from the field, while Earlham hit just 30-of-81 (37.0 percent). The Beavers struggled from the charity stripe as they were 19-of-28 (67.9 percent) while the Quakers went 13-of-15 (86.7 percent). The visitors converted 4-of-10 (40.0 percent) from deep, while the Beavers drained 5-of-9 (55.6 percent). The teams were nearly equal on the boards with the Beavers pulling down two more (46-44) despite a 21-14 Earlham edge on the offensive glass.
The Beavers will hit the court again this Saturday, Feb. 22, in the final regular season game against the Transylvania University Pioneers. The contest with the HCAC leaders (22-2 and 16-1 HCAC) is slated to tip off at 2 p.m.