2015-16 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 65, Transylvania 61
December 5, 2015
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - It was a poor shooting day on both ends of the floor, but the Bluffton University women’s basketball team was able to outwork the Transylvania University Pioneers to a 65-61 victory on Saturday, Dec. 5. The win keeps the Beavers unbeaten at 5-0, with a 1-0 mark in conference play. Meanwhile, the loss dropped the top team in the preseason HCAC poll to 3-3 and 0-1 in Heartland Conference action. When the men topped Transy in the 4 p.m. bout, it gave Bluffton its first-ever same day basketball sweep of the Pioneers! The five wins also equaled the 1981-82 squad for the most victories to start the season.
The first quarter was a low-scoring 10 minutes, as Bluffton led just 5-0 at the 3:16 mark before the Pioneers dropped five straight to tie the contest. The scoring would pick up, with the Beavers taking a 12-9 lead to end the quarter on a bucket and freebie from Kaycee Rowe (Harrod/Allen East). The Beavers shot just 5-of-28 in the opening quarter of action.
The second period was a battle back and forth as well, with neither team leading by more than five markers, which Bluffton did twice. Late in the half, the Pioneers had the deficit down to two points (26-24) at the 1:19 mark when Bluffton’s Taylor Whitkaer (Mansfield/Lexington) hit a timely triple to make it 29-24. Transy responded with a three at the buzzer from Kristen Hayes and the home team held a 29-27 halftime advantage.
The third quarter was controlled by the Beavers as many other third quarters have been early in the season. After Transylvania outscored the Beavers 5-2 to hold a one-point lead, the home squad rattled off 11 straight points to take a double-digit lead, 42-32. The gap would get up to 12 on freebies from Rowe and another bucket by Rachel Beining (Ottoville), who finished with 10 in the stanza. Transy cut it to eight before a lay-in from Beining made it 52-42 heading to the final stanza.
Transylvania would come out hot, scoring 14 of the first 17 in the first 5:45 of the fourth quarter to take a one-point lead. Macey Sheerer (Bucyrus) knocked down her first field goal at the 3:20 mark of the quarter to briefly regain the lead for her team, but Transy responded with a hoop-and-harm to go back up two. Whitaker added a point, then a big three-point play from Kaitlyn Pennekamp (Hamilton/Ross) handed the Beavers a two-point lead with 1:19 left. Shelby Gransberry responded with a score to tie it at 61-61. The Beavers would go on to knock down four freebies, including Taylor Knight (Perrysburg) converting 3-for-4 in the final 14 seconds to ice a 65-61 victory and keep the Beavers unbeaten!
Both teams struggled shooting the basketball, with the Beavers finishing 21-of-75 (28 percent) from the floor and shooting just 22 percent (6-of-22) from beyond the arc. Transy hit 23-of-66 (34.8 percent) from the floor. The Beavers were able to win the game from the charity stripe, more than doubling the free throws (17-8) made by the Pioneers. Bluffton also won the rebound battle 53-49, while only committing nine turnovers, compared to 17 miscues for the Pioneers. The Beavers finished the contest with 11 swipes, compared to six for Transy.
The Beavers finished with three scorers in double figures, led by Rowe and Beining with 15 points apiece. Rowe also added 10 boards and three assists for her third double-double of the season, while Beining ripped down nine rebounds in the win. Kaitlyn Pennekamp added 14 markers off the bench, while grabbing five boards and two steals. Macey Sheerer finished the contest with six points, but her 14 rebounds, seven assists, and four steals led the team team in each category. Her defense on Transylvania standout Katelyn Smith limited the 2014-15 HCAC Player of the Year to five points, 11 below her average, on 2-of-15 shooting from the field!
Bluffton puts its unbeaten mark on the line this Wednesday, Dec. 9 as the women head to Richmond, Ind., to take on the Earlham College Quakers. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. The Beavers return home on Saturday, Dec. 12 to battle the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology at 1 p.m. in the Sommer Center. Come support your Beavers!