2013-14 Women's Basketball
Defiance 70, Bluffton 61
By: Adriane Bruner, sports information assistant
Jan. 15, 2014
DEFIANCE, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team was looking to build on the momentum gained from back-to-back victories over Mount St. Joseph and Hanover but Defiance had other plans as the Jackets used a 39-30 advantage in the second half to upend Bluffton 70-61 on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. The visitors fell to 8-6 overall and 4-3 in the Heartland Conference, while Defiance improved to 5-9 and 2-5 in the HCAC with the Yellow Jackets' first home victory of the season.
Six straight points from freshman post Kelsey Tietje to open the game helped Defiance to a quick 6-3 lead over the visitors at the 17:04 mark. Bluffton responded with a Brooke Ruffer (Stryker) jumper in the paint before fellow sophomore Taylor Knight (Perrysburg) put Bluffton up 8-6 with a deep triple.
The Beavers opened a 19-13 lead on the strength of five points from Whitaker and a Kaitlyn Pennekamp (Hamilton/Ross) trifecta. Five straight points from Defiance pulled the home team within one, but a pair of Knight freebies made the score 21-18 with 8:18 to play in the half. Triples by Pennekamp and Belicia Cooper (Painesville/Riverside) put Bluffton on top 31-27. However, Defiance scored the final four points of the half to make it 31-31 at the break.
The Beavers came back to the court ready to go as Ruffer put the first points on the board in the second half. However, Defiance responded again with another bucket for Tietje followed immediately by a Yellow Jacket steal and a jumper from Megan Zachrich and another layin by Tietje. The Beavers pulled back within striking distance several times throughout the half before knotting it at 47 following a jumper by Taylor Knight.
Defiance started to pull ahead with about four minutes left. Whitaker tried to keep the Beavers in the game with a three-point shot with just under three minutes remaining, but the Yellow Jackets stemmed the tide and clinched it with 7-of-8 at the stripe to end the night in a disappointing 70-61 loss for the Beavers.
Taylor Whitaker kept Bluffton in the game with a team-high 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting at the line. She also picked up three of Bluffton's 15 steals. Brooke Ruffer was 5-of-10 for 12 points, while Taylor Knight and Kaitlyn Pennekamp were both in double figures with 11 and 10 markers, respectively. Pennekamp picked up a career-high five steals. Rachel Beining (Ottoville) was tough on the glass, pulling down eight boards.
Bluffton struggled to a 21-of-62 shooting night from the field (33.9 percent) while DC was a blistering 28-of-44 (63.6 percent). Both teams found the sledding difficult outside the arc. The Beavers went 5-of-19 (26.3 percent), compared to just 1-of-9 (11.1 percent) for the victors. Bluffton forced Defiance into 26 turnovers (12 for the Beavers), but the Yellow Jackets doubled up the visitors on the boards (42-21).
The Beavers will be looking to get back on the winning track Saturday, Jan. 18, when Bluffton travels to Transylvania for a meeting with the HCAC-leading Pioneers. The women's contest is slated for 2 p.m. in Lexington, Ky.