Bluffton 80, Hanover 74
Bluffton improves to 5-7 in the HCAC with 80-74 win over Hanover
By: Evan Miller, sports information assistant
February 7, 2009
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team picked up a huge homecourt win over Hanover College on February 7. 2009. The Beavers improved to 13-8 overall and 5-7 in the HCAC, while Hanover slipped to 13-8 overall and 7-6 in HCAC play.
From the opening tip, the Beavers and Panthers stayed tight. Although Bluffton broke into the scoring column first with a jumper by Emily Shellabarger (St. Mary's/Memorial), the home team was quickly down 4-2 following a Hanover layup by Micah Whitted.
At the 16:14 mark, two Kim Miller (Delphos/St. John's) free throws knotted the game for the fourth time at eight. The Beavers were consistent from the free throw line for the game, making 27-of-35 which was good for 77.1 percent, while Hanover managed just 57.7 percent on 15-of-26.
Bluffton grabbed its second lead of the game with two three-pointers. The first came from freshman Becky Ruble (Grover Hill/Wayne Trace) to give Bluffton a 13-10 lead with 14 minutes on the clock. Their next possession followed a Hanover turnover, and Brittany Stegmaier (Garfield/Trinity) was able to hit another triple thanks to an assist from Emily Shellabarger.
At the 11:09 mark, Hanover regained the lead when Lacey Hornaday converted a layup, making the score 22-21 in favor of Hanover. The Panthers extended their lead to eight points as Bluffton was on the wrong side of a 17-2 run that made the score 29-21 with 8:07 to go in the half. The drought ended with a jumper from Kim Miller, but Bluffton still trailed 29-23.
Hanover's lead mushroomed to 10 at the 6:47 mark after a layup by Rachel Walters made the score 33-23. The deficit was trimmed to six (35-29) on a jumper by junior Katie Lord (Toledo/Whitmer) with just under five minutes left before the half.
Freshman Beth Yoder (Marshallville/Smithville) canned two free throws at the 3:33 mark to pull Bluffton within one point, 37-36. A minute later, Yoder drained her lone three-pointer of the game, but it was a big one, giving the Beavers a three-point advantage, 40-37. Bluffton took a six-point lead into the half as Ginny Buckingham (Bluffton) converted 4-of-5 free throws in the last two minutes for a 45-39 advantage. Buckingham finished the half 9-of-12 at the line.
The Beavers looked poised to deliver the knock-out punch early in the second half as Kim Miller took advantage of a hoop and harm, pushing the Bluffton advantage to nine, 48-39. However, Hanover came racing back, trimming the Bluffton lead to just two points (48-46) with a Molly Martin three-pointer at the 16:58 mark.
At the 15:05 mark, Kim Miller pulled down a rebound and Alicia Amis (Woodstock/Mechanicsburg) sliced through the Hanover defense on the other end for a deuce, pushing the score to 51-47.
Five minutes later, Hanover knotted the game for the seventh time with a Holly Vogel layup. Bluffton failed to score on its next possession, and Hanover found the basket again with a Chelle Bentz jumper for a 58-56 lead with 9:43 to play.
With time running out on Bluffton, Hanover had a three-point lead as Rachel Walters split the one and one from the line, making the score 65-62 with 5:36 left on the clock. The Beavers wasted no time formulating a response as Vicki Auer (Cincinnati/Roger Bacon) picked up a steal which led to another Becky Ruble trifecta at the other end, tying the game at 65.
The Beavers grabbed a four-point lead that they would not surrender at the 2:40 mark with a Shellabarger layup, making the score 72-68. Bluffton would maintain its lead for the final ticks to take the 80-74 win.
The Beavers got balanced scoring, as three of the five starters made it into double figures. Freshman Emily Shellabarger racked up her eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Ginny Buckingham scored a team-high 17 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the line. She just missed another double-double, finishing with nine boards. Kim Miller added 15 points, to go along with her five assists. Brittany Stegmaier picked up three of Bluffton's 10 steals. Becky Ruble came off the bench for 13 points on 3-of-6 from distance and four crucial free throws in the final 22 seconds.
Bluffton shot a solid 42.9 percent (24-of-56) from the field, and the Beavers held Hanover to 36.5 percent (27-of-74) shooting. Hanover finished with a 49-41 edge on the glass. The two teams combined to shoot 61 free throws in the foul-marred contest.
Hanover was led in scoring by center Molly Martin who contributed 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Chelle Bentz swatted away three shots, as Hanover had nine blocks as a team. Martin (23 points and 16 rebounds) and Rachel Walters (18 points and 12 boards) both posted double-doubles in the loss.
Bluffton returns to action on Wednesday, February 11, when the Beavers travel to Anderson University. The Beavers' matchup with the HCAC's top squad is scheduled to tip at 7:30 p.m.