2011-12 Women's Basketball
Manchester 70, Bluffton 50
Manchester pulls away in second half for 70-50 win over Beavers
February 8, 2012
By: Martin Kluk, sports information intern
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Bluffton women's basketball team dropped their third straight road contest to Manchester College (70-50) on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. The Beavers slipped to 8-14 overall (6-9 HCAC), while the Spartans improved to 15-7 on the season (11-4 HCAC).
Freshman Brenna Kurilec (Mt. Gilead/Gilead Christian) got things going for the Beavers quickly as she sliced to the hoop for an easy deuce 24 seconds in. Senior Beth Yoder (Marshallville/Smithville) extended the lead to 17-11 on a make from behind the arc with just over 12 minutes remaining in the half.
However, the talented Manchester squad shook off the rust and started to play up to their billing. They chipped away at the lead and finally went ahead 20-19 on a layup by Laine Mello at the 8:06 mark. Brittany Lewis (Springfield/Shawnee) answered right back with a trey to tie it at 22 a few moments later before Manchester grabbed the lead again and ran with it.
The Spartans extended their advantage to nine just before half, but Lauren Hutton (New Riegel) stepped outside with 30 seconds left and nailed only her fifth three of the season to make it 36-30 Manchester at the break.
Unfortunately, Bluffton came out of the locker room ice cold from the field while also struggling to handle the ball. Manchester took advantage and pushed its lead to 16 (50-34) with 14:51 left to play. The Beavers committed nine turnovers and shot only 26.1 percent from the field in the second period as the Spartans continued to pull away en route to a 70-50 victory for the home team.
Hutton paced the Beavers with 16 points and six rebounds in just 18 minutes while being saddled with foul trouble. Lewis also contributed eight counters to go along with six rebounds. Freshman Mikayla Coburn (McGuffey/Upper Sciota Valley) chipped in with a productive game of four points, five boards and two assists in 20 minutes off the bench.
Bluffton hit just 17-of-54 from the field for 31.5 percent, including 6-of-18 outside the arc. Manchester shot well; hitting 24-of-47 for 51.1 percent from the field. The Spartans got to the charity stripe an impressive 30 times, draining 21 of them for 70.0 percent at the line, while the Beavers hit 10-of-11 for 90.9 percent. Turnovers plagued Bluffton again as the visitors committed seven more miscues than Manchester (17-10).
Bluffton will travel to Hanover College on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m. and try to get things back on track as the Beavers are all alone in sixth place in the HCAC. The top six teams qualify for the upcoming Heartland Conference tournament. Bluffton holds a one-game edge over Anderson and Rose-Hulman for the final slot in the tourney.