2015-16 Women's Basketball
Transylvania 65, #23 Bluffton 57
February 6, 2016
By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Although the Bluffton University women outscored Transylvania 27-23 in the second half, a 42-30 deficit at the break proved too much to overcome as the Beavers dropped their second straight HCAC Saturday contest by a final score of 65-57. The Pioneers improved to 15-6 overall and 11-3 in the Heartland Conference, while Bluffton slipped to 19-2 and 12-2 in the HCAC. The loss also dealt a severe hit to Bluffton's chances for hosting the Heartland Conference tournament in a little over two weeks based on the tie-breaking scenarios with Rose-Hulman.
The contest opened with a fast-paced, evenly played first five minutes as it was tied (11-11) at the midway point. Back-to-back triples from the Pioneers quickly gave the home team a six-point edge. The Beavers responded with a jumper from Rachel Beining (Ottoville) and a three-ball by Macey Sheerer (Bucyrus) which pulled Bluffton back to within one. However, the Pioneers would get it out to 24-18 before a Taylor Knight (Perrysburg)deuce to end the quarter brought the Beavers within four at 24-20.
The second period was dominated by the Pioneer offense, as they used a 10-3 run to push the lead to double figures at 34-23 midway through the quarter. The Transy lead mushroomed as high as 16 points (42-26) at the 1:37 mark, with Katelyn Smith continuing to attack the Bluffton defense for 20 first half markers. Buckets from Sheerer and Kaitlyn Pennekamp (Hamilton/Ross) made it a 42-30 game at the break.
The defenses took over in the third stanza as the Beavers held the Pioneers to just seven tallies. Bluffton managed just nine, however, to make it a 10-point game late in the period before Macey Sheerer dropped five straight counters during the final minute to get the Beavers to within five points at 49-44 entering the penultimate quarter.
Transy pushed the lead back to seven in the first 2:30 of the fourth, but Bluffton would score six straight on baskets from Sheerer, Pennekamp, and Abby Jerger (Middletown/Madison) which made the score 53-52 with 5:03 to play. The Beavers then bogged down with a three-minute dry spell while the Pioneers added five points, including the dagger triple from Sarah Ashley at the 1:58 mark to put Transylvania up, 58-52. The home team converted their freebies down the stretch to seal the key HCAC victory.
Rachel Beining and Macey Sheerer topped the Bluffton scorers with 12 points apiece. Beining was an efficient 6-of-8 from the floor and she pulled down seven rebounds. Sheerer ripped down a team-high eight boards. Seniors Taylor Knight and Kaitlyn Pennekamp both bucketed nine points for the visitors. Abby Jerger finished with five rebounds off the bench.
Bluffton hit 25-of-64 (39.1 percent) from the field, but knocked down just 4-of-18 from distance for a paltry 22.2 percent. The free throw line, where the Beavers typically make a living, was unkind to the visitors as Bluffton was an uncharacteristic 3-of-9 (33.3 percent). The Pioneers drilled 8-of-22 (36.4 percent) from deep and 13-for-16 (81.3 percent) at the stripe. The Beavers pulled down five more boards (37-32), but Katelyn Smith offset that difference with 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field and a perfect 7-of-7 at the line.
The Beavers will regroup as they welcome rival Defiance College for the first of three straight home contests on Wednesday, Feb. 10. A 6 p.m. women's battle precedes the men's game which is slated for approximately 8 p.m. in the Sommer Center. 'Hop' on board Wednesday night at the Sommer Center to support Adam Hopkins, a junior on the men's team, in his fight with cancer.