Bluffton 67, Mount St. Joseph 65
Beavers tame Lions 67-65 in Founders Hall thriller
By Molly Burnell, sports information assistant
February 8, 2006
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team (3-19, 1-10 HCAC) defeated the Mount St. Joseph Lions in Founders Hall by a final score of 67-65. The victory marks the first Heartland Conference win for the Beavers in the 2005-06 campaign, as well as the initial HCAC triumph for first-year Bluffton head coach Chad Shutler. With the win, the Beavers snapped a 17-game losing streak and picked up their first conference victory since January 5, 2005, when they defeated Manchester College 59-56.
The game started out slowly for Bluffton as the Lions held them scoreless until two Angie Lee (Mt. Blanchard/Vanlue) free throws put the Beavers in the scoring column at the 16:39 mark. A jumper by senior Karin Schaller (Jenera/Arlington) tied the game at four before Mount St. Joseph took control of the contest. The Lions mounted a 16-4 run over the next six minutes to take a 12-point lead midway through the period. Junior Tanya Rickenberg (Paulding/Paulding) broke the scoring run with a layup to cut the Lions lead to 10 points with 8:15 remaining. Two Schaller free throws pulled Bluffton to within eight points before a Stephanie Thomas 3-pointer gave the Mount an 11-point lead. Tight defense and poor shooting by both teams kept the Lions comfortably ahead until Ashleigh Stallkamp (Paulding/Paulding) scorched the nets for the Beavers. Stallkamp scored six points and freshman Sarah Bruner (Wauseon/Pettisville) came off the bench to drop in five points for the Beavers as they cut the Mount advantage to five just before the half. The Lions led 32-27 at the intermission.
Bluffton continued its physical play in the second half. An old fashioned 3-point play by Lee and a bucket by Rickenberg knotted the game at 34 less than two minutes into the new period. Lee connected on two of her five shots from the charity stripe to push Bluffton to their first lead of the contest (36-34). The Beavers dominated the offensive end of the court and were able to create steals as an Amanda Bell (Napoleon/Liberty Center) triple gave Bluffton their largest lead of the contest 54-45 with 9:13 to play. The Mount would not roll over as two Thomas foul shots cut the Beavers' cushion to seven points. Schaller answered with a layup of her own as Bluffton took control of game 56-47. The Lions held the Beavers scoreless over the next few minutes as they went on a scoring spree of their own. Thomas managed five points and Maria Eichhold connected for a bucket to give the Mount a one-point lead (57-56) with 6:20 remaining. A Stallkamp trey tied the contest at 59 before Eichhold and Kiley Oberlander gave the Lions a four-point advantage with 4:22 to play. Two Lindsay Bush (Howard/East Knox) free throws tied the contest at 63 with three minutes left. Thomas connected on a layup for the Mount and Bush responded with one of her own to once again tie the game at 65 with less than a minute remaining. A quick timeout by Bluffton and a foul by the Lions sent Stallkamp to the line where she calmly sank both free throws and sealed the deal for the Beavers as they went on to win 67-65.
Stallkamp led the way for Bluffton with 23 points and four steals. She also hauled in four rebounds and dished out two assists in the win. Lee added 11 points and three boards. Bruner contributed nine points and three rebounds while Rickenberg pulled down a team-high six boards and scored nine points in the contest. Bush dished out a team-high four assists and swatted away five shots in the victory.
Bluffton returns to action on Saturday, February 11, 2006 when it travels to face HCAC foe Anderson University. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.