Manchester 76, Bluffton 51
Manchester rides strong second half to 76-51 victory over Beavers
February 7, 2007
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Bluffton University women's team could not sustain its early momentum as Manchester College dominated the Beavers in the second half for a 76-51 victory on Wednesday, February 7, 2007. The loss drops Bluffton to 5-17, 3-10 in the Heartland Conference. With the victory, Manchester maintains its hold on first place in the HCAC as the Spartans improved to 13-1 and 16-6 overall.
A pair of Tanya Rickenberg (Paulding/Paulding) triples, both thanks to Amanda Bell (Napoleon/Liberty Center) feeds, put the Beavers on top, 6-2, less than five minutes into the contest.
Manchester standouts Stacy Wendel and Kelly Meikeljohn scored the Spartans next eight points to give Manchester a 10-8 lead before Bell knotted the game at the 13:44 mark of the first half.
When Wendel knocked down a three-ball with just under five minutes to play in the half, Manchester led 27-16 despite a pair of Rickenberg hoops midway through the period.
An old-fashioned three-point play from Amanda Bell and a pair of Angie Lee (Mt. Blanchard/Vanlue) makes at the foul line cut the deficit to four points with 24 ticks remaining before Lauren Kallis countered to give Manchester a 33-27 lead at the break.
Although Bluffton slowed the Manchester offense early in the second half, the Beavers were unable to capitalize, going scoreless for nearly five minutes until Lee got free in the paint to make the score 37-29 in favor of the hosts.
Six straight Spartan points put Manchester on top, 43-29, less than two minutes later.
The lead remained in double digits until a Rickenberg free throw at the 10:38 mark cut the deficit to nine points, 48-39.
A long distance trey from Angie Lee with nine minutes on the clock had the Beavers primed to make a run at Manchester, but a 10-0 Spartan run put the game on ice.
Vicki Auer (Cincinnati/Roger Bacon) drilled a trifecta and Deborah Smith (Lima/Perry) followed with a basket, making the score 62-47 at the 5:50 mark.
Manchester immediately responded with nine consecutive points to quell any thoughts of an upset as the Spartans opened up a 71-47 lead with 3:40 to play.
The Beavers' Sarah Bruner (Wauseon/Pettisville) knocked down a jumper with 49 seconds remaining to make the final score 76-51 in favor of the Spartans.
The Spartans hit 27-of-60 shots from the field for 45 percent and they held Bluffton to 36 percent shooting (19-of-53). Manchester also won the battle on the boards, 42-33, including 17 offensive caroms. The Beavers forced Manchester into 16 turnovers but they committed 22 miscues in the contest. For the game, Manchester made 16-of-26 attempts at the stripe to only 9-of-12 for Bluffton.
Tanya Rickenberg led the Beavers with 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting. She pulled down four rebounds, dished out two assists and picked up two steals. Angie Lee chipped in with 10 points while Lindsay Bush (Howard/East Knox) hauled in a game-high eight boards. Bell finished the contest with a game-high four assists.
Bluffton returns to Founders Hall for its home finale on Saturday, February 10, 2007, when it hosts an improving Transylvania University team. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.