Bluffton vs. DefianceSaturday, January 27, 2001
BC Game Day NotesThe Heartland Conference's top team visits Founders Hall Saturday afternoon as the Bluffton College women's basketball team hosts Defiance College in a rematch of their January 6 battle, won by Defiance 80-62. It's Parent's Day for the Beavers and the last of what has been five straight home games that has seen BC go 2-2.
In Defiance's 18-point win over BC earlier this season, Yellow Jacket guard Lea Barrera scored 39 points and was a perfect 15-15 from the free throw line. Bluffton outrebounded Defiance 42-36 but was forced into 28 turnovers and saw Defiance hit 30 of 33 free throw attempts, while BC made just 17 trips to the charity stripe and converted 12. Kristin Helvey's 17 points led the Beavers while Jen Bear collected 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
After dropping their first two games of the current home stand, BC has come on strong to win their last two games over Thomas More and Anderson. Against Thomas More, Liz Bock and Bear both carded double-doubles as Bear picked up Heartland Conference Player of the Week honors. On Wednesday night, Kristy Crall's 14 points and five steals led BC to a 60-51 win over Anderson. Helvey added 13 points and Elizabeth Snavely chipped in 10.
Defiance topped defending HCAC champion Franklin College on Wednesday night 71-62 to remain perfect in the league at 6-0 and extend their overall winning streak to ten straight games. DC canned 31 free throws in that game and employed a full-court pressure that resulted in 26 Franklin turnovers. Over their 10-game winning streak the Yellow Jackets have had just two road games, however, and both were against two of the league's bottom half teams. Overall this season DC is 3-3 on the road, while Bluffton is 6-4 at home. The Beavers have their sights set on hosting a first round HCAC tournament game, and a win over Defiance would go a long way towards making that a reality.
Now that the first round of HCAC matchups are in the books, Defiance has shown they are the league's dominant team in just their first season in the Heartland Conference. The Yellow Jackets lead the HCAC in field goal percentage (.458), 3-point field goal percentage (.367), free throw percentage (.741), assists (13.8 apg), turnover margin (+3.61) and steals (12.7 spg) and are second in scoring (73.3 ppg), scoring margin (+9.9) and rebounding margin (+1.8). Barrera is their go-to player, as her 18.1 points per game ranks 2nd in the league and she is the conference leader in 3-pointers made (31), 3-point shooting percentage (.425), free throw percentage (.836), steals (101) and assists (67). She is complimented well by Jen Wachtman (13.0 ppg, #4 in HCAC) and Arin Gertsen (13.1 ppg, #5 in HCAC).
Bluffton counters with the league's best post combination in Snavely and Bear, who are one of just two teammate duos in the HCAC to rank in the top ten in both scoring and rebounding. Bock continues to be one of the league's best shot blockers and field goal shooters, and the triple-threat capability of guards Crall and Helvey are one of the finest in the league, as well.
Around the Heartland Conference Saturday, Mount St. Joseph travels to Manchester and Hanover is at Anderson.