2012-13 Women's Basketball
Bluffton women to kick off 2012-13 campaign in Sommer Center
October 23, 2012
By: Evan Skilliter, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University Women's Basketball team will count on its youth to propel the Beavers through the 2012-13 season as Bluffton graduated its second, third, fourth and fifth leading scorers from the 2011-12 squad. The Beavers finished with an overall record of 8-17 and 6-12 in the HCAC a season ago.
Bluffton Head Coach Chad Shutler returns for his eighth season at the helm. Coach Shutler has put together a 61-115 overall record with a 35-79 mark in the HCAC. Assistant Coach Amanda Bell is back for her second season on the Bluffton bench. Bell was a four-year starter for the Beavers from 2004-08 as well as a three-year captain.
Lauren Hutton (New Riegel) returns for her junior season after a successful 2011-12 campaign in which she was named First Team All-Heartland Conference. Hutton averaged 12.8 points per game and 5.8 rebounds last season, leading Bluffton in both categories.
Also returning for the Beavers will be junior Kylee Burkholder (West Unity/Hilltop) and sophomores Mikayla Coburn (McGuffey/Upper Scioto Valley), Rachel DeBord (Lebanon) and Brenna Kurilic (Mt. Gilead/Gilead Christian). Those four players averaged 13 minutes per game and together accounted for 12.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per game last season.
"Youth will definitely contribute on this year's team," said Shutler. "Our young players may lack game experience, but there is a high level of talent and basketball IQ within the group, and that can go a long way toward being successful."
Coach Shutler is keen on letting the team establish goals, but he outlined a few that are always on his list. In addition to finishing as a top three team in the HCAC and winning a conference championship, Shutler believes the team can win its own Tip-Off Tournament when the Beavers host Pitt-Greensburg, Hiram and Aurora on November 16-17.
In order for Bluffton to be successful this season, Shutler says the youth of the team and the returning veterans must gel. "We're going to have to create a family-type atmosphere which will result in good team chemistry," added Shutler. "Unselfishness and a unified team effort will be key."
Along with several new faces, the Beavers will be playing in a brand new facility. The new 60,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Sommer Center will be open at the start of the basketball season as the Beavers say goodbye to Founders Hall. "I'm extremely thrilled (about the Sommer Center)," stated Shutler. "It's great for the kids and shows commitment to not only the athletic programs and our team, but to the whole school as well."
The Beavers will open play in the Sommer Center during the previously mentioned Tip-Off Tournament on November 16, followed by a home game on Nov. 24 against the College of Wooster. The Heartland Conference opener is slated for December 1 at Franklin College.
"This team can be as good as they want to be," Shutler concluded. "They have the potential to be a contender in the conference if they are willing to work at it."