Bluffton 78, Franklin 70
Bluffton wins third straight HCAC tilt, 78-70, over defending HCAC champion Franklin
By Jordon Bruner and Shannon Ramer, sports information asistants
January 20, 2007
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team shot 52 percent from the field on its way to a 78-70 win over defending HCAC regular-season champion Franklin College on Saturday, January 20, 2007. The victory was Bluffton's first over the Grizzlies in their last 17 meetings. The Beavers move to 5-13 overall and 3-6 in Heartland Conference play following their third straight HCAC victory. Bluffton's three Heartland Conference wins are the most by the Beavers since 2000-01 when they finished the season 12-14, including a 5-7 mark in the HCAC.
Lindsay Bush (Howard/East Knox), who was coming off a double-double performance against Mount St. Joseph, scored the first seven points of the game while helping Bluffton jump out to an early 7-4 lead.
Courtney Swain then took over for Franklin, scoring seven points over the next three minutes as the Grizzlies grabbed an 11-10 lead with just over 15 minutes left in the first half.
The two teams traded baskets for the next eight minutes until a trifecta by Swain helped the Grizzlies gain a 25-17 advantage.
Bluffton caught fire over the last seven minutes of the half, going on a 21-8 jag during that period. The Beavers used great passing, picking up six assists, while not missing a shot for over six minutes to take a 39-33 lead into the break.
Bush ended the first half with a near double-double as she led all scorers with 14 points, while also pulling down nine boards. Swain led Franklin with 12 points, most of them coming early on in the half.
Franklin came out on fire to start the second half as Swain and Katie Douglas helped key a 7-2 run to pull the Grizzlies within one, 41-40.
The Beavers had an answer for every Franklin run from then on as they opened up a 56-48 lead with 13 minutes remaining in the game. Bluffton scored on eight of its ten possessions during that four-minute stretch.
A layup by Rachelle Durcholz cut the lead to five, 72-67, with two minutes left in the contest.
The Beavers came up big from the free throw line, knocking down six-of-seven over the last minute and a half. Amanda Bell (Napoleon/Liberty Center) sealed the game as she stripped Durcholz with time winding down, giving Bluffton the victory, 78-70, its first three-game winning streak since the 1999-2000 season.
Bluffton shot an incredible 52 percent from the field after going 27-of-52 throughout the game, while Franklin shot 40 percent from the field. The game was won at the charity stripe as Bluffton went 19-of-24 from the line, shooting nearly 20 percent better than Franklin which only knocked down 12-of-21 freebies.
Bush led both teams with 25 points and 14 rebounds on the way to her second straight double-double. Angie Lee (Mt. Blanchard/Vanlue) added 17 points, including 7-of-8 from the line where she is shooting a phenomenal 85.6 percent for the year. Bell finished with 14 points, while Lindsay Ebbeskotte (Delphos/Jefferson) chipped in with a career-high 10 points and six rebounds. Tanya Rickenberg (Paulding/Paulding) led the Beavers with five assists while Lee dished out four assists in the victory
The Beavers return to action on Saturday, January 27, when they host Rose-Hulman in the first game of the 2007 Bluffton University Athletics Community Day in Founders Hall. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.