2011-12 Women's Basketball
St. Mary's (Ind.) 68, Bluffton 57
St. Mary's rides strong first half to 68-57 win over Beavers
December 29, 2011
WESTERVILLE, Ohio - The Bluffton University women fell behind 37-19 late in the first half and were unable to make up the deficit as St. Mary's (Ind.) held off the Beavers for a 68-57 victory in day two of the Smokey Ballenger Classic at Otterbein University. Bluffton fell to 2-9 overall, while St. Mary's improved to 5-7 on the season.
Bluffton took advantage of a St. Mary's turnover on the game's first possession when senior Alicia Amis (Woodstock/Mechanicsburg) got to the rack for a quick deuce. The Beavers grabbed a 9-7 lead when senior Rachel Daman (Defiance/Tinora) buried a long triple less than three minutes into the contest.
Trailing by just two points (15-13) following a Brenna Kurilec (Mt. Gilead/Gilead Christian) layin, the Beavers watched St. Mary's take control with a 22-6 jag that made the score 37-19 with 3:28 to go in the first period. Trifectas by Beth Yoder (Marshallville/Smithville) and Francena Tate (Fostoria/St. Wendelin) helped Bluffton tame the Belles as the Beavers made it an 11-point game (39-28) at the break.
The home team on the scoreboard continued to chip away at the deficit, pulling within seven (45-38) following deep makes by Daman and Brittany Stegmaier (Garfield/Trinity) and chip shots by Lauren Hutton (New Riegel) and Tate. The St. Mary's lead teetered between nine and 13 points until a pair of Brittany Lewis (Springfield/Shawnee) charity tosses made the score 55-48 with 6:39 showing on the clock.
Nine straight counters for the Belles pushed their lead to 16 points (64-48) a little more than two minutes later. Consecutive Amis hoops and a pair of Hutton freebies allowed the Beavers to pull within 10 points, but a Shanlynn Bias jumper with 1:06 to play sealed the 68-57 win for St. Mary's.
Hutton was a nearly perfect 5-of-6 from the field for a team-high 13 points and she also ripped down a team-best nine rebounds. Francena Tate just missed double digits with nine markers. Kurilec pulled down six boards and Lewis dished out three assists.
St. Mary's hit 30-of-64 (46.9 percent) from the field, compared to 21-of-52 (40.4 percent) for the Beavers. Bluffton pulled down five more rebounds (38-33) but turned it over 11 more times (25-14). St. Mary's picked up 11 steals and doled out 17 assists. Five of the nine Belles who saw action tallied double figures in their win over the Beavers.
Bluffton returns home for a Heartland Conference battle with rival Defiance College on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012. The first contest of a women's and men's doubleheader with the Yellow Jackets is slated for 6 p.m. in Founders Hall.