2013-14 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 75, Trine 62
By: Adriane Bruner, sports information assistant
December 29, 2013
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Beavers hit the court ready for a battle against the Thunder, but the home team was too much for Trine University as Bluffton won the inaugural edition of its McDonald's and Monsanto Holiday Tournament on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013. The Beavers moved to 6-4 with their victory over The Thunder which slipped to 3-8.
Sophomore BROOKE RUFFER (Stryker) got to the rack for a layup right off the bat before another layin from TAYLOR KNIGHT (Perrysburg) made it 4-0, but the Thunder answered with three-point shot from MEGAN ENGLE which made the score 4-3 after two minutes of action. For the next five minutes the teams scored and countered to keep the game even until the 13-minute mark when the Beavers began a scoring run for some breathing room. The spurt was started by a three from TAYLOR WHITAKER (Mansfield/Lexington).
The Beavers maintained a lead of about 15 points for the majority of the first half by capitalizing on the height advantage of freshman center RACHEL BEINING (Ottoville) who finished with 14 points and nine boards. The Thunder picked up the momentum and closed the gap before the end of the half when Ruffer took a seat with her second foul. Trine took advantage of the bonus and tacked on points at the stripe. The Thunder closed the half with a crucial hoop and harm call for KELSEY HENSELMEIER, trimming the Bluffton lead to 10 points, 43-33.
The Beavers maintained their lead thanks to a BELICIA COOPER (Painesville/Riverside) shot from behind the arc early in the second stanza. The teams continued to battle back and forth while the Beavers slowly inched ahead to a 15-point lead again when GWEN DOWNING (Kenton) drained a three, setting the score at 59-44 with just over 11 minutes to play.
However, the Thunder weren't ready to give up as consecutive three-point shots from KAYLA DUNN started to turn the tide. With just over five minutes left in the game the lead was down to six (65-59) for the Beavers. With the game on the line, Cooper knocked down a crucial jumper before another three-point shot from Whitaker sealed the outcome. The Beavers took a 10-point lead with two minutes left in the game and capped the night with a 75-62 win.
Bluffton went 27-of-57 (47.4 percent) from the field, while Trine hit 19-of-52 (36.5 percent). Both teams struggled from the charity stripe as the Beavers were 15-of-25 (60.0 percent), while the Thunder hit 21-of-33 (63.6 percent). The Beavers finished 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) from distance, while the Thunder proved more accurate from the three-point line, hitting 3-of-5 (60 percent). Both teams proved to be nearly equal with ball handling as the Thunder finished with one more turnover than the Beavers (17-16).
With the victory the Beavers clinched the title in the first-ever McDonald's of Bluffton and Monsanto Holiday Tournament. Named to the All-Tournament Team were Brooke Ruffer (MVP) and Taylor Knight along with KELSEY HENSELMEIER and AMY NEWELL from Trine. Whitaker led the Beavers with 15 points, while Knight chipped in with 13 points and a team-high six assists. Ruffer just missed a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds. Cooper was also in double figures with 10 counters.
The Beavers will be back on the court again on January 4 at Rose-Hulman. The Heartland Conference contest is slated to tip at 1 p.m. in Terre Haute, Ind.