Bluffton survives three-point barrage from Earlham in 79-75 win
November 24, 2009
By: Josh Bruner, sports information assistant
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BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team struggled coming
out of the gate, as it could not stop the Quakers three-point shooters during the
first half en route to a 38-35 deficit at the hands of Earlham. However, the Beavers
did not surrender and they recovered to score 44 points in the second to lead them
to a 79-75 win on Tuesday, November 24, 2009, in Founders Hall. The win moved the
Beavers to 3-1 overall, while the Quakers fell to 1-2.
The Beaver offense was started by a Vicki Auer (Cincinnati/Roger Bacon) score, going coast to coast for a layin less than one minute
into the game. The Quakers looked unstoppable as Katy Buda hit two three-pointers within the first minute for a 6-2 lead. The Quakers' deep
game was firing on all cylinders as they extended their lead to 17-7 after just four
minutes of play.
The Quaker shooting seemed as though it would never stop, with Buda hitting another
two from behind the arc while extending the lead (20-10). The Beavers came back with
a three-pointer of their own by sophomore Becky Ruble (Grover Hill/Wayne Trace). Kim Miller (Delphos/St. John's) put in two free throws after an Earlham layup to keep the deficit
Bluffton did not let the hot shooting Quakers run away with the game as they slowly
cut into the Earlham lead. The Beavers brought the game back to within four after
a Brittany Stegmaier (Garfield/Trinity) layup. Bluffton finally tied it up with 1:49 left on the clock,
but the Quakers took a three-point lead to the break, 38-35.
Junior forward Kim Miller led the Beavers out of halftime with a layup after 20 seconds
of play, pulling the Beavers within one. Miller added another chip shot for the Beavers
to give them their first lead of the night, 39-38. The home team continued to dominate
the second half as Ruble added another triple five minutes in, putting Bluffton up
by a 50-44 count. The Quakers seemed to have cooled off thanks to the intermission,
while the Beavers went on a 20-6 run capped by a Beth Yoder (Marshallville/Smithville) three-pointer.
The Beavers did not slow down from their start, taking their largest lead of the night
after Kirstie Runion (Cincinnati/Cin. Christian) drained a free throw for a 58-46 lead with just 11:28
left on the clock. The Quakers showed a glimpse of their first half fire, trimming
the Bluffton lead down to six with just six minutes of play left after a Nikki Darrett steal and layup. The Beavers responded to the run with a quick Miller deuce and Auer
three to push the lead back to nine with just four minutes left on the clock. The
teams continued to trade points, keeping the margin at six points until senior forward
Ginny Buckingham (Bluffton) upped the lead to nine with a hoop and harm at the 1:21 mark.
Earlham made a final run at the Beavers over the last minute, hitting several shots
from behind the arc to try and keep the Quakers in the game. Miller's clutch free
throw shooting was the difference as she buried three late foul shots to seal the
79-75 Bluffton victory.
Miller again led the offense to the win, putting up 25 points, 11 of which were free
throws. She also pulled down seven boards and dished out seven assists. Ruble added
14 for the Beavers off the bench, hitting 2-of-5 from behind the arc. Stegmaier was
close behind with 11 for the Beavers. The sophomore also grabbed five boards. Auer
chipped in with 10 markers. Runion had five assists for the Beavers and six points
of her own.
The Quakers scoring was evenly distributed, with four players in the double digits.
Darrett led them with 17 points and five rebounds. The other contributors with double
digits were Buda with 12, including 4-of-5 on three pointers. Her four makes were
all in the first five minutes of the game. Michelle Miranda and Princess Darnell chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Bluffton went 27-of-51 (52.9 percent) from the field, including Miller's 7-for-13,
while Earlham hit 28-of-59 (47.5 percent). Both teams capitalized from the line as
the Beavers were 18-of-24 (75.0 percent) from the charity stripe and the Quakers 6-of-7
(85.7 percent). The Quakers proved more proficient from the three-point line, hitting
13-of-28 (46.4 percent), while the Beavers made just 7-of-22 (31.8 percent). Both
teams struggled with the ball, as Bluffton had 21 turnovers, one less than the visitors.
The Bluffton University women's basketball team will be in Founders Hall next Wednesday,
December 2, when the Beavers face Mt. St. Joseph for their first Heartland Conference
battle. The contest is slated to tip at 7:30 p.m.