Bluffton 69, Mt. St. Joseph 57
Beavers snap three-game skid with 69-57 win at MSJ
January 17, 2009
CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team used a 21-of-34 afternoon from the charity stripe to secure a 69-57 victory at Mt. St. Joseph on Saturday, January 17, 2009. The Beavers win snapped a three-game HCAC skid and with it Bluffton improved to 10-6 overall and 2-5 in the conference. The Mount fell to 3-12, with a 1-6 record in the Heartland Conference.
Freshmen sensation Emily Shellabarger (St. Mary's/Memorial) scored the first seven points of the game, including her first triple of the season on Bluffton's initial possession. She followed that with a deuce and then a pair of makes at the foul line. Following a Lauren Schaller bucket, sophomore Kim Miller's (Delphos/St. John's) drive gave Bluffton a 9-2 lead with 15:47 to play in the first half.
Bluffton was held in check over the next four minutes as MSJ cut the deficit to three points before junior Ginny Buckingham (Bluffton) converted a pair of free throws for an 11-6 lead at the 11:56 mark. A three-pointer by Rachel Daman (Defiance/Tinora) from Buckingham made the score 17-10 five minutes later as both squads struggled to put the biscuit in the basket.
A Kim Miller layup gave the Beavers their largest lead of the half (26-16) with just over four minutes to play, but MSJ answered by going on a 12-4 run to end the stanza trailing by just two points, 30-28.
Brooke Sowards knotted the contest at 30 early in the second period before Bluffton took control with a quick 9-0 spurt that included four points from Miller and a deep triple by junior Vicki Auer (Cincinnati/Roger Bacon). Another Auer trifecta at the 14:17 mark allowed the lead to swell to 10 points (42-32).
The home team would not go away quietly, however. Six straight points and 10 of the next 14 markers helped the Lions trim Bluffton's advantage to four (46-42) midway through the second half. Auer and junior Katie Lord (Toledo/Whitmer) answered as they both hit from distance to push the visitor's lead to 10 points before a Shellabarger deuce made it 56-44 with 8:16 to play.
Freshman Becky Ruble (Grover Hill/Wayne Trace) got into the long ball action at the 7:20 mark when she drained a triple to make it a 14-point spread (59-45). The Beavers sealed the deal by making seven free throws over the final 5:18 as MSJ never got closer than nine points the rest of the way. Bluffton picked up its first HCAC victory (69-57) since the Beavers won at Rose-Hulman on December 6, 2008. It also marked Bluffton's first-ever victory at the Harrington Center.
Emily Shellabarger led three Beavers in double digits with her sixth double-double of the season. She tallied game-highs of 17 points and 11 boards on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. Kim Miller went for 16 points and three assists on 5-of-10 from the field and 6-for-8 at the line. Vicki Auer showed off for her hometown fans with 15 points and two assists, including 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Ginny Buckingham added seven points, seven rebounds and five dimes for the victors.
Both teams made 20 shots in the game but Bluffton took just 47, compared to 56 for the home team. The Beavers made their mark from distance (8-of-17) for 47.1 percent and at the charity stripe (21-of-34). Bluffton made as many freebies as MSJ took (15-of-21). The visitors finished with a slight edge on the glass (37-34), and the Beavers turned it over 18 times, two fewer miscues than the Lions committed.
Bluffton returns to action on Wednesday, Jan. 21, when the Beavers travel to face backyard rival Defiance College in an important HCAC battle. The contest is scheduled to tip at 7:30 p.m.