2008-09 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 80, Mt. St. Joseph 69
Beavers complete season sweep of MSJ with 80-69 win in Founders Hall
By: Brandy Bidlack, sports information assistant
February 21, 2009
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team took the early lead and never looked back as it dominated conference foe Mt. St. Joseph, 80-69, on Saturday, February 21, 2009 in Founders Hall. With the win the Beavers finished their regular season 15-10 and 7-9 in the HCAC, while the Lions dropped to 1-15 in the conference and 3-22 overall.
The Bluffton women will continue their 2008-09 season on Tuesday, February 24, when they travel to Hanover for the first round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. It marks the first time since the HCAC went to a limited entry tourney that the Bluffton women have qualified for post-season play.
HCAC Freshman of the Year candidate Emily Shellabarger (St. Marys/Memorial) sparked Bluffton's electric offense with an old-fashioned three-point play 1:20 into the game. Just over a minute later, Shellabarger found Becky Ruble (Grover Hill/Wayne Trace) outside the arc for a three-pointer. At the 13:03 mark, freshman guard Beth Yoder (Marshallville/Smithville) drove to the bucket for two. Continuing the trend, Brittany Stegmaier (Garfield/Trinity) dialed long distance to put the Beavers up by 10 points, 15-5.
A jumper from Shellabarger slowed the Lions' after MSJ went on a 6-0 run. With just over eight minutes remaining in the first half, freshman Brittany Lewis (Springfield/Shawnee) connected with Kim Miller (Delphos/St. John's) for a layin. Shellabarger used a feed from Miller to drain just her second trifecta of the year while giving Bluffton a 24-17 edge.
At the five-minute mark, Lewis knocked down a jumper and a minute later Miller drove to the hole for two more. Four more Miller points gave Bluffton a 35-29 half-time lead over Mt. St. Joseph.
After two freebies from Lion Megan Smith, Ginny Buckingham (Bluffton) set up a Shellabarger jumper. A deuce from Ruble upped the Bluffton edge to eight at the 17:01 mark. Minutes later, a Miller layup reinforced the eight-point lead, 45-37. The next Beaver possession resulted in two more points from Stegmaier.
Another hoop and harm from Shellabarger gave the Beavers a 16-point cushion. With 10:25 remaining in the second stanza, Stegmaier again hit from distance. Seconds later, Yoder drove to the bucket for two points.
The Beavers re-established their 16-point lead thanks to consecutive Yoder bombs. With less than six minutes to play, Yoder found Shellabarger for an easy deuce before a three-point-play from Miller made the score 74-56.
At the 1:32 mark, Stegmaier connected with junior Vicki Auer (Cincinnati/Roger Bacon) for a chip shot. A Ruble free-throw and one freebie from freshman Alicia Amis (Woodstock/Mechanicsburg) provided the final two points for Bluffton in the contest as the Beavers rolled over Mt. St. Joseph, 80-69, in their last game of the regular season.
Emily Shellabarger, who bolstered her resume for All-Heartland Conference honors, led the Beavers with 21 points, five rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal. Kim Miller had another outstanding all-around floor game with 17 points, four boards, three assists and two steals. Beth Yoder contributed 12 points, four assists and two rebounds in the contest. Brittany Stegmaier produced 11 points, five boards, and one block, as well as picking up three steals. Becky Ruble, the fifth Beaver to reach double figures, added 10 points, seven rebounds and one rejection.
Megan Smith paced the Lions with 13 points. Kat O'Neill had nine points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals while Carolyn Holt contributed seven points and five boards in the contest.
Bluffton made 26-of-55 (47.3 percent) from the field, while Mt. St. Joseph hit 28-of-61 (45.9 percent). The Beavers were 22-of-27 (81.5 percent) from the charity stripe, compared to just 9-of-11 (81.8 percent) for the Lions. The Beavers drained two more triples than their opponents (6-4) and pulled down 34 rebounds. The home team also committed four fewer turnovers than the Lions (21-17).
Bluffton will travel to Hanover for an HCAC quarterfinal contest on Tuesday, February 24. The contest is slated to tip at 7:30 p.m.