2015-16 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 69, Franklin 68
January 2, 2016
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Bluffton University women’s basketball team trailed for most of the contest, but stormed back in the final period for a 69-68 victory over the Franklin College Grizzlies on Saturday, Jan. 2. With the win, Bluffton remains a perfect 11-0 on the season and takes sole possession of first place in the HCAC with a 4-0 mark. Franklin slipped to 7-4 and 3-1 in conference play. It marked Bluffton's first-ever victory at Franklin!
The first quarter was all Grizzlies as they jumped out to a 12-2 lead just over three minutes into the game. The Beavers fired back with seven of the next nine markers to cut it to 14-9 at the 2:44 mark, but the next eight tallies all showed up on Franklin's side of the ledger as the home team built a 22-9 lead. Taylor Whitaker (Mansfield/Lexington) slowed the bleeding with a key triple to end the quarter at 22-12.
A hoop-and-harm from Rachel Beining (Ottoville) to open the second period cut the deficit to seven, but Franklin would quickly get it back to a 12-point game. Whitaker then scored five of the next seven points, making it 27-22, before five straight from the home team pushed the lead back to 32-22. The teams exchanged buckets late in the first half as Franklin went in with a 39-29 advantage at the break.
The Grizzly lead went as high as 14 points early in the third before the Beavers scored eight straight markers, all from the charity stripe, including four from Macey Sheerer (Bucyrus) and three from Kaycee Rowe (Harrod/Allen East) to make it 46-40 at the 4:15 mark. Franklin was still up by 10 before a jumper by Beining and a conventional three-point play from Taylor Knight (Perrysburg) made the score 52-47. A Franklin freebie followed by a bucket to end the quarter made it 55-47 after three.
Franklin got the lead back up to 10 points, 59-49, two minutes into the final quarter before the Beavers began their charge. Four straight points from Knight and back-to-back deuces from Sheerer and Kaitlyn Pennekamp (Hamilton/Ross) made it a two-point game. On the ensuing possession, Beining was fouled and hit both free throws to tie the game at 59-59 with 3:56 remaining. Two more foul shots from Sheerer handed the Beavers a brief lead before the Grizzlies scored four straight to go up by two. Pennekamp was fouled and nailed both freebies to tie it back at 63 with 1:57 left. Then, Sheerer drilled a jumper with 39 ticks left and the Beavers would get a stop on the other end. Knight salted it away with four consecutive free throws to seal a 69-68 victory over the Grizzlies.
The key to the Beaver victory came from the charity stripe as Bluffton hit 35-of-40, an 87.5 percent clip. The line saved Bluffton from its struggles in the field as the visitors shot just 30.8 percent (16-of-52) from the floor and 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from beyond the arc. Franklin finished the contest 26-of-60 (43.3 percent) from the floor and 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from deep, but only made nine free throws (9-of-13) in the loss. Bluffton also committed six fewer turnovers (22-16) and outrebounded the Grizzlies, 40-37.
The Beavers finished with four in double figures, led by Macey Sheerer with 17 points, 12 boards and three assists as she drained 9-of-10 from the line. Taylor Whitaker added 14 points on the night, while Taylor Knight hit eight of her nine freebies for 12 points. Rachel Beining chipped in 10 points and three rebounds on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 at the line. It was also a career day for Kaycee Rowe who finished with a career-high 12 boards to go along with her eight points.
Franklin placed two in double figures, led by a big game from Katie Brewer who scored 17 points and added 12 rebounds. Maddie O’Day also tallied 15 for Franklin in a losing effort while drilling 3-of-3 from distance.
The Beavers hit the road again for the middle contest of the three-game road swing on Wednesday, Jan. 6 as they head to Cincinnati to take on the Mount St. Joseph Lions at 7:30 p.m. A week later (Wednesday, Jan. 13), Bluffton returns home to the Sommer Center to take on the Manchester University Spartans at 7:30 p.m.