Franklin 67, Bluffton 60
Franklin dominates last 16 minutes in 67-60 win over Beavers
January 31, 2009
FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Bluffton University women's basketball team led by as many as seven points with 16:37 to play in the second half before Franklin used a 15-3 spurt to take control at the Spurlock Center on Saturday, January 31, 2009. The Grizzlies improved to 12-7 and 8-3 in the conference with the 67-60 come-from-behind victory, while Bluffton dropped to 12-8 with a 4-7 mark in the HCAC.
Points were a valued commodity in the early going as Franklin led just 8-7 with 14:34 to play in the first half. Just 1:30 into period one, freshman center Emily Shellabarger (St. Mary's/Memorial) went to the bench with her second foul in less than 10 seconds and she did not return to the floor until the second half, forcing Bluffton to find scoring without its top point-getter for 18:30.
Following a Traci Lippold jumper at the 14:12 mark, freshman point guard Alicia Amis (Woodstock/Mechanicsburg) got to the glass for a deuce, making the score 10-9 in favor of Franklin. Midway through the opening stanza, the Interstate 75 connection of juniors Vicki Auer (Cincinnati/Roger Bacon) and Katie Lord (Toledo/Whitmer) sandwiched triples around an Auer fastbreak layup, giving the Beavers a 19-16 lead with 8:06 to play in the half.
Franklin scored the next five points before the Beavers used a 9-0 jag to open a 28-21 lead with 3:16 to play in the period. Auer converted a conventional three-point play and junior Ginny Buckingham (Bluffton) knocked down six straight points to help Bluffton open its largest lead of the half. The Grizzlies responded with a quick 6-0 run before Buckingham again quieted the home crowd with a bucket, making it 30-27. Kim Miller (Delphos/St. John's) drained a pair at the charity stripe with 53 seconds remaining for a 32-27 Bluffton lead at the break.
To open the second half, Heather Harper and Brittany Wilson converted to cut the Grizzlies' deficit to a single point at the 18:31 mark. Bluffton responded with six straight points, including four from Shellabarger and a pair of Miller freebies, to again push the lead to seven (38-31) with 16:37 to play in the game.
That run was answered emphatically by the home team as Franklin outscored the Beavers 15-3 over the next five minutes to take a 46-41 lead with 11:13 showing on the clock. A Brittany Lewis (Springfield/Shawnee) three-ball trimmed the deficit to one point before a couple Miller makes at the line knotted the contest for the final time at 47.
Following another Harper chip shot, Bluffton hit five of six free throws to stay within striking distance at 53-52, but three straight Franklin layins allowed the Grizzlies to open up a 60-54 advantage with 2:54 to play. Although Buckingham hit from in close two more times and Shellabarger drained a couple at the charity stripe, it was too little, too late as Franklin completed its season sweep of the Beavers with a 67-60 victory.
Ginny Buckingham paced the Beavers with her ninth career double-double. She went for 14 points, 13 rebounds (five offensive), two steals and one assist. Also in double figures were sophomore Kim Miller and freshman Brittany Lewis with 12 points apiece. Lewis, Miller and Vicki Auer all picked up three steals and Lewis doled out a team-high three assists. Miller was 8-of-8 at the foul line and she hauled in seven boards.
For the second consecutive contest, the Beavers struggled to stop one of the HCAC's top inside threats as Heather Harper hung 22 points on Bluffton, including shooting 10-of-13 from the field. Traci Lippold and Monica Planalp added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Bluffton's second half woes continued as Franklin outscored the Beavers 40-28 after the break. Although Bluffton won the battle on the glass (38-37) and made 21-of-28 free throws, compared to 15-of-20 for the Grizzlies, Franklin made seven more shots on one less attempt to seal the victory. The Beavers were just 18-of-55 (32.7 percent), while Franklin converted 25-of-54 shots (46.3 percent).
Bluffton will not be back in action until next Saturday, February 7, as the Beavers take advantage of their conference bye week on Wednesday night. Hanover travels to Bluffton next Saturday for another HCAC showdown in Founders Hall. The contest is slated to start at 3 p.m. following the men's game versus the Panthers.