2013-14 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 64, Ripon 57
November 16, 2013
NAPERVILLE, Ill. - The Bluffton University women's basketball team built a 50-25 lead midway through the final stanza and held on despite a furious Ripon rally, improving to 1-1 with a 64-57 victory on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. The Beavers led just 54-53 with 2:22 to play before senior Kylee Burkholder (West Unity/Hilltop) hit from in close to give Bluffton some breathing room. Another Burkholder deuce and 6-of-6 free throw shooting in the final minute sealed the win.
Both teams struggled to find any continuity on offense until freshman Gwen Downing (Kenton) broke a 13-13 tie with a triple at the six-minute mark in the first period. Ripon was still within a point (22-21) with a minute to play in the half, but seven Bluffton counters in the final 47 seconds, including another Downing trifecta, helped the Beavers to a 29-21 lead at the break.
Bluffton continued its offensive outburst to start the second half as freshman Rachel Beining (Ottoville) sandwiched a pair of hoops around a Taylor Whitaker (Mansfield/Lexington) three-pointer. A 12-0 jag by the Beavers helped Bluffton open up a 50-25 lead at the 10:46 mark. Sophomore Kaitlyn Pennekamp (Hamilton/Ross) ignited the spurt with a triple and a pair of free throws. Downing hit her third shot from distance and sophomore Karen Wise (Findlay/Riverdale) got into the action with a steal and finish for the 25-point spread.
With their backs against the wall, the Red Hawks began chipping away at the deficit. A pair of Kacie Cullen triples pulled Ripon within a point at 54-53 with 2:22 to play. Following Burkholder's crucial baskets, Junior Belicia Cooper (Painesville/Riverside) and Pennekamp sealed the victory with four makes at the charity stripe in the final 17 seconds.
Downing led the Beavers with 13 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field, including 3-of-3 from outside the arc. Burkholder came up big with 10 points and six rebounds. Beining, Pennekamp and Taylor Knight (Perrysburg) all came up just short of double digits with nine points apiece. Pennekamp and Beining pulled down nine and eight boards, respectively, while Knight doled out a team-high four assists. Cooper chipped in with eight points and six rebounds.
The Beavers hit 21-of-59 from the field for 35.6 percent. Bluffton took advantage at the free throw line, connecting on 17-of-23 (73.9 percent), while Ripon was just 6-of-12 (50 percent). The Beavers pulled down three more rebounds (46-43), but turned it over one more time (18-17).
Bluffton returns to action on Wednesday, Nov. 20, when the Beavers travel to Kalamazoo. The non-conference contest is slated to tip at 7:30 PM.