2017-18 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 69, MSJ 58
February 20, 2018
By: Takayla Gadberry, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women’s basketball team stepped onto Copeland Court for the last time this season as they faced off against the Mount St. Joseph Lions in the first round of the HCAC tournament. After a slow start, the Beavers pulled off a 69-58 win to advance to the semi-finals. Bluffton improved to 20-6, giving the Beavers 20 wins for three consecutive seasons, while MSJ bowed out at 10-16 on the year.
Bluffton snagged the tip but MSJ dropped in the first two buckets of the game. KAYCEE ROWE (Harrod/Allen East) put up two points for the Beavers after hitting from in close. A 5-0 run made the it a one-basket game with 3:38 left in the opening stanza. Another shot by Rowe knotted the score before a HEIDI CRADDOCK (Lima/Bath) deuce gave Bluffton a 16-14 lead.
The Beaver offense struggled in the first four minutes of the second quarter as MSJ went on an 8-0 run. BREANNA GRAHAM (Springboro) drained a shot from deep to stop the spurt and cut the deficit to five points. A fast break by MACEY SHEERER (Bucyrus) and two freebies from Kaycee Rowe kept the home team within striking distance (36-30) heading into the break.
Bluffton came out ready to fight in the second half. After six Bluffton makes from the charity stripe, an ABIGAIL O’DONNELL (Arcanum) deuce in the paint and bomb from outside the arc tied the game up at 41. NORA HEMMINGER (McComb) buried a three and Macey Sheerer bucketed two free throws to give the Beavers a 51-46 advantage going into the final stanza.
Another triple by Nora Hemminger started off the fourth quarter, giving Bluffton an eight-point lead. A Sheerer jumper gave the home team a 59-50 cushion with just under six minutes left in regulation. A pair of freebies from Breanna Graham and another TJ MILLS (Dayton/Chaminade-Julienne) make secured the victory for the Beavers.
Leading the Bluffton squad off the bench was Macey Sheerer with 17 points. TJ Mills was on her heels with 15 points and five boards. Nora Hemminger and Kaycee Rowe also contributed 11 points apiece with Rowe securing her 16th career double-double after snagging a game-high 10 rebounds.
Bluffton connected on 20-of-51 (39.2 percent) from the field, 5-for-15 (33.3 percent) from deep and 24-of-29 (82.8 percent) at the stripe. The home team won the shooting battle as the Lions managed just 21-for-59 (35.6 percent) from the field, 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) on triples and 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) at the line. The Lions pulled down one more board (37-36), but the visitors also turned the ball over four more times (15-11).
With tonight’s victory, the Beavers will be back in action when they head to #1 seed Rose-Hulman on Friday, Feb. 23, to face off against #2 seed Transylvania University. Tip-off is slated for 8:30 p.m. Good luck ladies!