2014-15 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 83, Muskingum 82
December 29, 2014
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women were able to fend off a big early run by the Muskingum University Fighting Muskies to bring home an 83-82 victory in the consolation game of the 2014 McDonald’s Holiday Tournament on Monday, Dec. 29. Bluffton guard Taylor Whitaker (Mansfield/Lexington) had a huge afternoon as she equaled her career high with 27 points to lead the Beavers. Bluffton improved to 7-3 on the campaign while Muskingum fell to 3-9.
The Denison University Big Red won the McDonald's title with a 78-62 victory over Albion College in the championship game. Denison’s Kellie Arter was named the MVP of the tournament while teammate Mary Margaret Habel joined her on the All-Tournament Team. Taylor Whitaker was the representative for the Beavers, while Albion’s Darian Payne and Oreyana Curry, as well as Muskingum’s Jasmine Goings rounded out the team.
Muskingum began the game on fire, pushing the lead as high as 19 points (34-15) at the 7:33 mark of the first stanza. The Beavers got back into it with a 13-2 run to pull within single digits, including nine points from Whitaker in the spurt. The Muskies and Beavers exchanged 7-0 runs to end the half as Muskingum took a 43-35 edge into the break.
The Muskies were up 11 early in the second half before another 9-0 Beaver spurt made it a two-point game. The run began with a bucket from Rachel Beining (Ottoville) and was followed by a triple from Whitaker and a put-back by Macey Sheerer (Bucyrus) before Whitaker finished it with two freebies at the 14:43 mark. After a Muskingum bucket, a jumper from Beining and two more freebies tied the game at 50 for the first time since the opening tap. The next four minutes of action would see four lead changes before the dust settled and the Muskies made a run, going up by as many as six points (69-63) at the 5:45 mark.
The Beavers clawed back into the game and tied it on two more free throws from Whitaker at the 1:16 mark before taking the lead on a foul shot from Kaitlyn Pennekamp (Hamilton/Ross). Two freebies from Whitaker put Bluffton up three three with eight seconds left. The Beavers sent Angela Darnley to the stripe and she hit them both to get the Muskies within a point. After the Beavers turned it over on the inbounds pass, Muskingum’s Taylor Maurer just missed the deep three at the buzzer to preserve the one-point Beaver victory.
Bluffton was able to win the game from the free throw line as they shot 26-of-30 (86.7 percent) on the contest. Their second half shooting was also a key to the comeback as they converted just 37.9 percent (25-of-66) on the game, but 43.8 percent (14-of-32) in the second half. The home team also won the battle of the boards, 45-33, including 15 offensive rebounds.
Bluffton was led by Whitaker’s 27 points which tied her career high and included a sparkling 12-of-13 showing from the charity stripe. She also added four boards and two assists. Pennekamp threw in 19 tallies and five rebounds, while Rachel Beining added another double-double with her 12-point, 10-board performance. Macey Sheerer contributed nine points and eight rebounds for the victors. Muskingum was led by Jasmine Goings with 22 and Mallory Taylor with 21 in the loss.
The Beavers will return to Heartland Conference action this coming Saturday, Jan. 3, as they take on the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in the first game of a doubleheader from the Sommer Center. Tip-off for the women’s game is set for 1 p.m. with the men’s clash to follow. Come support your Beavers!