2013-14 Women's Basketball
Heidelberg 84, Bluffton 77 (OT)
By: Evan Skilliter, sports information assistant
November 30, 2013
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Beavers lost a heartbreaker in the 2013-14 home opener after the Heidelberg Student Princes converted 33-of-38 free throws to help them top Bluffton in overtime, 84-77, at the Sommer Center on Saturday, Nov. 30. The loss dropped the Beavers to 2-3 overall while Heidelberg stayed perfect at 5-0.
Heidelberg jumped out to an early 6-0 lead on back-to-back three-pointers, but the Beavers answered with two free-throws each from Kaitlyn Pennekamp (Hamilton/Ross) and Taylor Knight (Perrysburg) and a Rachel Beining (Ottoville) jumper which evened the score at six apiece at the 17:17 mark. Then a Pennekamp triple and a layup from Beining gave the Beavers an 11-6 lead before two Heidelberg free-throws ended the 11-0 run.
After the Student Princes tied the game at 11, Brooke Ruffer (Stryker) took it right back with a layup when Taylor Whitaker (Mansfield/Lexington) found her in the paint, but Heidelberg's Kathleen Phillips went a run of her own, scoring the next seven points and giving the Student Princes an 18-13 lead at the 11:41 mark.
Ruffer helped Bluffton take the lead once again after converting two free-throws with 4:55 remaining in the half. However, Heidelberg answered and extended the lead to 30-26 as the teams hit the locker room for halftime.
After trading baskets to start the second half, Pennekamp scored five straight on a jumper and a three-pointer to bring the Beavers to within one, 34-33, at the 18:09 mark. Then, less than two minutes later, Belicia Cooper (Painesville/Riverside) tied the game at 36 with a free throw. The Student Princes responded and extended the lead to as many as five points before Cooper gave Bluffton the lead back, 45-44, with a trifecta at the 10:45 mark.
Just over a minute later, Ruffer pushed the lead to four with two free-throws, and with 8:15 left in regulation, Whitaker made it 53-47 following two freebies of her own. The Beavers held the lead until two Heidelberg free throws tied it again at the 6:46 mark, but Knight answered with a hoop-and-harm and Whitaker added two more on the next possession, giving the Beavers a five-point lead with 5:24 remaining.
Bluffton maintained the lead until the 1:49 mark when Heidelberg took it back with two free-throws. After a few baskets by both teams, the Student Princes had a 70-67 lead with 15 seconds remaining. Following a timeout, The Beavers inbounded the ball to Pennekamp who found Ruffer at the top of the key. Ruffer took a dribble to her right and shot an off-balance three pointer that found the bottom of the net, tying the game at 70 and sending the wild affair into a five-minute overtime session.
Ruffer was the first overtime scorer, giving the Beavers a one-point lead after a free throw. Heidelberg took the lead back on two foul shots of their own, but a steal to layup combo by Ruffer gave the Beavers the lead once again with 3:41 remaining. Heidelberg converted two more free throws on the ensuing possession, giving them yet another lead. This time, the Student Princes were able to hold on and end the game as the victors.
Pennekamp finished the day as the game's leading scorer, tallying a career-high 21 points. Ruffer finished close behind with 20 points, adding 13 rebounds and two steals to her stat line for her seventh career double-double. Beining chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds while Knight added nine points and a game-high six assists, Whitaker finished with five points, Gwen Downing (Kenton) tallied five points and Kylee Burkholder (West Unity/Hilltop) had two points and three rebounds.
The Beavers went 23-of-70 (33 percent) from the field, including 4-of-12 three-pointers. They were also an outstanding 27-of-33 (81.8 percent) from the free throw line. Bluffton was outrebounded 54-41, but committed only 17 turnovers, compared to Heidelberg's 24 miscues.
Bluffton will be back in action on Wednesday when they travel to Richmond, Ind., to open HCAC play against Earlham College at 7:30 p.m. The next home contest will be Saturday, Dec. 7, against HCAC opponent Franklin College.