2016-17 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 53, Centre 35
December 29, 2016
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The 2016 McDonald’s Holiday Tournament kicked off in style as the Bluffton University women’s basketball team took on the Centre College Colonels following a captivating 78-67 victory for #6 St. Thomas over #7 Hope College. Despite a slow start, the Beavers were able to take advantage of a 10-0 second quarter en route to a convincing 53-35 victory on Thursday, Dec. 29. Bluffton improved to 8-1 while the Colonels dropped to 3-8 on the year.
The Beavers jumped on top 6-2 after a layup by RACHEL BEINING (Ottoville) off a dish from TJ MILLS (Dayton/Chaminade-Julienne). Bluffton took a slim 16-13 lead after one quarter, but the Beavers picked up the intensity defensively, holding the Colonels scoreless as they outscored the visitors 10-0 for a 26-13 spread at the break.
Layups by Rachel Beining and ABIGAIL O’DONNELL (Arcanum) made the score 30-13 just two minutes into the third quarter. Heading into the final stanza with a 41-24 lead, Bluffton extended its advantage after a quick steal and score by TJ Mills at the 9:10 mark. A 5-0 spurt by the home team made the score 49-26 with 5:23 remaining in regulation. The two teams traded baskets as the Beavers capped off their 53-35 victory.
Bluffton was led offensively by Rachel Beining who dropped in 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting with a game-high seven rebounds. Abigail O’Donnell notched 12 points as well with MACEY SHEERER (Bucyrus) adding 10 counters and five boards.
Both teams struggled to knock down shots from the field as the Colonels went 14-of-49 (28.6 percent) from the floor and the Beavers were 20-of-50 (40 percent). Centre had a 36-34 edge in rebounding battle 36-34 but the visitors coughed the ball up 21 times. Bluffton dominated the paint with a 30-16 spread.
The Beavers will face #6 ranked St. Thomas in the championship game of the tournament at 5 p.m. while Centre will compete with #7 ranked Hope College in the consolation finals at 12 p.m.