2013-14 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 81, Hanover 71
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
January 11, 2014
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University Beavers earned a huge Heartland Conference victory on Saturday, Jan. 11, defeating the Hanover College Panthers by an 81-71 count. The win was their first over the Panthers since 2009, a string of nine straight setbacks at the hands of Hanover. Balanced scoring led Bluffton as they had six scorers in double figures. The win pushes Bluffton to 8-5 overall and 4-2 in HCAC play, while Hanover fell to 5-8 and 3-3 in conference action.
Hanover started the game on fire as the Panthers led by as many as 11 points late in the first stanza. Then with 4:29 remaining in the half and trailing by 11 points, the Beavers went on a 12-3 run to end the period. The spurt began with a Belicia Cooper (Painesville/Riverside) layup before four straight points from freshman Gwen Downing (Kenton) who scored all of her 10 points in the first period. Five more points from Cooper rounded out the run and gave the Beavers a one-point lead before Hanover's Ashley Malloy beat the buzzer with a triple to give the Panthers a 34-32 advantage at the break.
The second half went back-and-forth for the first five minutes. After a Kaitlyn Pennekamp (Hamilton/Ross) deep ball tied the game at 43, Hanover went on a 14-4 run for a 57-47 lead with 13:06 to go. The Beavers got back in the game with a 6-0 spurt of their own, including four points from Taylor Whitaker (Mansfield/Lexington) who played a large role in the second half.
The Beavers took their first lead of the second half on another jumper from Whitaker that gave them a 60-59 lead with 8:23 on the clock. The lead blossomed to five points with under five minutes to play before Hanover would tie the score at 69 with 2:55 left. Then, a deuce from Brooke Ruffer (Stryker) gave the home team a two-point advantage. Hanover knotted it on a jumper from Jesse Davidson. Bluffton would then end the contest on a 10-0 run over a span of just 80 seconds, starting with another jumper by Ruffer and aided by six straight free throws that sealed the victory.
The Beavers outshot the Panthers in the victory, sinking 30-of-62 (48.4 percent) as a team, in comparison to just 22-of-63 (34.9 percent) for Hanover. The Beavers also held a slight rebounding edge, 43-39. Both teams struggled to control the ball as they combined for 45 turnovers (23 for Bluffton).
Bluffton had six scorers in double figures, led by Taylor Whitaker with 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and four steals off the bench. Kaitlyn Pennekamp chipped in 14 points, four rebounds and three steals. Brooke Ruffer also scored 14, while grabbing a team-high 11 boards for her 10th career double-double. Junior Belicia Cooper added 12 points, seven boards and three steals. Rachel Beining (Ottoville) and Gwen Downing added 10 points apiece in the victory. Hanover was led in scoring by Alicia Hopkins with 15 markers.
The Beavers will now embark on a three-game road swing, beginning this Wednesday, Jan. 15, as they make the trip northwest to take on their arch-rival Defiance College in another doubleheader with the men. The women's contest will tip at 6 p.m. in the Weaner Center. Come support your Beavers!