2014-15 Women's Basketball
Hanover 84, Bluffton 81
January 10, 2015
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
HANOVER, Ind. - The Bluffton University women's basketball team led by seven points with less than six minutes to play but host Hanover rallied for an 84-81 victory over the Beavers on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. Bluffton was closing in on its first win in the Collier Arena since 2007 before the Panthers finished off the game with a 19-9 spurt. The Beavers slipped to 9-4 overall and 4-2 in the Heartland Conference, while Hanover upped its season mark to 8-5 overall and 4-2 in the HCAC.
The game started with both teams fighting back and forth to a 6-6 tie before the Panthers used a 10-1 spurt to go up 16-7 three minutes later. Four straight markers from Taylor Knight (Perrysburg) and a bucket by Kaitlyn Pennekamp (Hamilton/Ross) got the Beavers within three (16-13). Hanover answered with a bucket, then Knight hit a freebie and Pennekamp followed with a pair of buckets. A layup from freshman Kaycee Rowe (Harrod/Allen East) helped the Beavers to a brief one-point edge. The lead flip-flopped eight times in the last nine minutes of the half, capped by two Panther free throws in the last second of the half to give Hanover a 36-35 lead at the break.
Hanover was able to hold the lead early in the second, but was not able to extend it above five points. Then a quick spurt on a Brenna Kurilec (Mt. Gilead/Gilead Christian) jumper and a Rowe layup handed the visitors a 52-51 edge with 12 minutes to play. Bluffton was able to open it up with a quick five-point burst on free throws from Mikayla Coburn (McGuffey/Upper Scioto Valley) and three straight points from Macey Sheerer (Bucyrus), giving the visitors a five-point lead at 60-55. The Beavers extended their lead as high as seven points on a triple from Taylor Whitaker (Mansfield/Lexington) that made the score 72-65 with 5:50 left in the contest.
However, Hanover tallied 12 of the next 17 points to tie the contest at 77 with two minutes to play. Hanover’s Shauna Watson gave the Panthers an advantage before Rachel Beining (Ottoville) responded to tie it for the Beavers with under a minute left. A big triple from Alicia Hopkins gave the Panthers the three-point lead. Sheerer answered with a jumper to pull the Beavers within one but they were forced to foul. Hopkins hit one of two at the line but Hanover’s Allison Nash gained the offensive board and she would hit one of two once again. Whitaker was able to get off one last three-ball that was off the mark as Hanover barely escaped with the key HCAC victory.
Mikayla Coburn got it done with a team-high and career-best 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field to go along with five rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Kaitlyn Pennekamp and Taylor Whitaker, who hit 3-of-4 from distance, contributed 12 points apiece, while Brenna Kurilec tallied 10 points and a team-high 11 boards for her third career double-double. Rachel Beining and freshman Macey Sheerer added eight points each with Sheerer ripping down 10 caroms. Kaycee Rowe chipped in with seven points and seven rebounds.
Bluffton hit 31-of-75 (41.3 percent) from the field, compared to 28-of-70 (40 percent) for the Panthers. The visitors struggled at the free throw line, converting just 15-of-25 (60 percent), but Hanover was not much better, going 25-for-37 (67.6 percent). Bluffton pulled down 10 more rebounds (54-44), but the Beavers turned it over six more times (17-11).
The Bluffton women will jump back into action on January 14, when the Beavers host rival Defiance College in the first game of a rare Wednesday night double feature. The women's contest is slated for 6 p.m. with the men's clash to follow at 8 p.m.