Anderson 51, Bluffton 39
Anderson stays atop HCAC with 51-39 win over Bluffton
By: Brandy Bidlack, sports information assistant
February 12, 2009
ANDERSON, Indiana - In a game that took two nights to complete due to a blown transformer in Anderson, Indiana, the Bluffton University women's basketball team fell behind early thanks to 14 first half turnovers and never recovered as Anderson University won 51-39 on Thursday, February 12, 2009. The Beavers fell to 13-9 overall and 5-8 in the conference, while the Ravens improved to 14-8 overall and 12-2 in HCAC action. Anderson stands alone at first place in the Heartland Conference, one-half game ahead of Transylvania, a squad that both Bluffton and the Ravens will see during the next nine days.
The Beavers were held at bay until sophomore Kim Miller (Delphos/St. John's) put the first two points on the scoreboard for Bluffton at the 16:20 mark. After a 5-0 Raven run, Vicki Auer (Cincinnati/Roger Bacon) connected with Emily Shellabarger (St. Mary's/Memorial) for her first two points of the night. Shellabarger knocked down a jumper at the 11:36 mark thanks to a feed from fellow freshman Becky Ruble (Grover Hill/Wayne Trace), making the score 10-6 in favor of the home team.
Ruble drained a three-pointer to cut the deficit to five, 14-9, two minutes later. Anderson dominated the contest for the next eight minutes as they went on a 7-0 spurt before the lights went out in Indiana. 23 hours later following a round trip to Bluffton and back, the Beavers' Brittany Stegmaier (Garfield/Trinity) sank a trey for the first points of night two. Another basket from behind the arc by Ruble proved to be the last of Bluffton's points for the first half as the Beavers trailed the Ravens by eight (23-15) at the break.
Shellabarger started off the second stanza with a hoop and harm, following a Kayla Martin bucket, to pull the Beavers within seven points, 25-18. Bluffton's offense again went on hiatus, converting just a pair of Shellabarger freebies over the next six minutes.
At the 11:29 mark, Ginny Buckingham (Bluffton) scored her only two points of the game off an assist from freshman guard Alicia Amis (Woodstock/Mechanicsburg). After another Shellabarger three-point play, junior Katie Lord (Toledo/Whitmer) found Beth Yoder (Marshallville/Smithville) for a jumper to keep the Beavers within 15 points (42-27). Lord then drove to the bucket for two points at the 5:55 mark.
With the Ravens ahead 42-29, Lindsay Ebbeskotte (Delphos/Jefferson) got free under the bucket for a layin. Two plays later, an open Yoder hit the triple for Bluffton, bringing the Beavers within eight and capping Bluffton's 9-0 jag. After three Raven freebies, Shellabarger hit from in close to make the score 45-36. With 23 seconds remaining in the game, Shellabarger made a layup and drained the extra point, but it wasn't enough as Anderson completed the season sweep with a 51-39 victory over Bluffton.
Emily Shellabarger paced the Beavers with 17 points and 11 assists for her ninth double-double of the season. She also swatted away two Raven shots and picked up one steal. Becky Ruble tripled her career-high with nine boards and she added six points, along with two assists, one block, and a steal. Freshmen Beth Yoder and Brittany Stegmaier tallied five and three points, respectively.
Mel Hawthorne led the Ravens with 20 points, as well as having three assists, three steals and two blocks. Lauren Leisure contributed 14 points and two assists for Anderson. Allen East alum Tiffany Bowsher grabbed nine rebounds, while Mandy Seward dished out six assists.
Bluffton hit only 15-of-46 (32.6 percent) from the field and Anderson also struggled, shooting 17-of-53 (32.1 percent). The Ravens had two more treys than the Beavers, 6-4. The home team only committed 11 turnovers while the visitors coughed it up 23 times. Anderson made 11-of-14 (78.6 percent) from the charity stripe, compared to just 5-of-9 (55.6 percent) for Bluffton.
Bluffton returns to action on Saturday, February 14, when the Beavers travel to face HCAC-power Transylvania University. The tip is slated for 2 p.m. in Lexington, Kentucky.