2017-18 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 76, Manchester 57
February 14, 2018
By: Takayla Gadberry, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Bluffton fans welcomed back home the Bluffton University women’s basketball team tonight as they faced off against the Manchester University Spartans on Wednesday, Feb. 14. The Beavers scored early and often as the home team rolled to a 76-57 win, improving to 18-6 overall (13-4 HCAC). The Spartans fell to 7-17 on the season (6-11 HCAC).
Bluffton secured the #3 seed in the upcoming Heartland Conference tournament and will host the team that earns the #6 seed on Tuesday, Feb. 20, in the Sommer Center. The Beavers will learn their opponent following the conclusion of the regular season Saturday afternoon.
After controlling the tip, the Beavers kept the Spartans off the scoreboard for four minutes, going on a 14-0 run to start the game. A NORA HEMMINGER (McComb) triple followed by two freebies from TJ MILLS (Dayton/Chaminade-Julienne) put Bluffton up by 20 (25-5) with less than two minutes to play in quarter one. The Beaver defense was too much for the Spartans as the home team limited Manchester to a paltry eight points for a 25-8 advantage at the end of the first stanza.
A jumper in the paint by ABIGAIL O’DONNELL (Arcanum) ignited a spurt that increased the cushion to 26 points. A block and deuce from DJ KEESEY (Harrison/Central) continued Bluffton’s push with a 36-11 score. MACEY SHEERER (Bucyrus) and Mills finished off the half with two layups for a commanding 40-15 lead at the break as the visitors tallied just seven points in the quarter.
Sophomore BREANNA GRAHAM (Springboro) kicked off the second half with a shot from deep to put the Beavers up 43-15. LJ OLVERSON (Cincinnati/Princeton) added a deuce and bucketed three free throws as the Beavers continued to expand their lead going into the final quarter with a score of 60-29.
Bluffton came out in the final quarter with jumper by Olverson. A 9-0 Spartan run was broken up by a KYLIE BROCK (Villas Hills, KY) basket which gave the Beavers a 69-43 advantage with 3:30 left on the clock. KAYLA HEUKER (Botkins) put two final points on the board as the home team walked away with another victory.
Leading the Beavers was Breanna Graham with 15 points. She bucketed a career-high five shots from deep in the victory, just one shy of tying the school record. Also in double digits was TJ Mills, coming in with 12 points and four assists. Sheerer just missed a double double with 10 boards and nine points, while Kaycee Rowe (Harrod/Allen East) added seven counters and seven caroms. Olverson chipped in with nine points for the victors.
Bluffton connected on 27-of-56 (41.5 percent) from the field and 7-for-16 (43.8 percent) outside the arc compared to Manchester’s 18-of-60 (30 percent) from the field and 2-of-19 (10.5 percent) from deep. The Spartans took advantage at the charity stripe, going 19-of-24 (79.2 percent) in comparison to 15-of-21 (71.4 percent) for the home team. The Beavers pulled down 12 more boards (49-37) and swatted away eight Spartan shots, including a career-best four by Keesey..
The women will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 17, as Bluffton honors its seniors when Franklin comes to the Sommer Center for a double-header. Tip off for the women is scheduled for 2 p.m. with the men to follow at 4 p.m. Senior Day activities for both teams will take place before the start of the games. Good luck Beavers!