2017-18 Women's Basketball
North Park 63, Bluffton 59
November 18, 2017
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
CHICAGO, Ill. - The Bluffton University women’s basketball squad hit the court to face North Park University on Saturday, Nov. 18. After their upset of #7 Ohio Northern on a late Friday night, the Beavers came up just short to the host Vikings, 63-59, in the championship game while dropping to 1-1 on the season.
The Vikings went out to a 4-0 start until KAYCEE ROWE (Harrod/Allen East) hit a jumper to get Bluffton on the board. Trailing 6-2, an old-fashioned three-point play by ABIGAIL O’DONNELL (Arcanum) pulled the visitors within one. With only 36 seconds left in the first quarter, the Beavers knotted the game up at 12 following a jumper by freshman ERIN SHERMAN (Sandusky) but North Park took a 14-12 lead as the quarter expired.
Despite the 20-14 deficit, Bluffton responded with a 6-0 spurt to tie the game up with 3:50 left in the half. A deuce in the paint by TJ MILLS (Dayton/Chaminade-Julienne) off a nice feed from HEIDI CRADDOCK (Lima/Bath) made it 22-20 in favor of the Beavers with 2:40 to go. After a pair of free throws by BREANNA GRAHAM (Springboro), the Vikings answered with a layup to cut Bluffton’s lead to 24-23 at the break.
Just over a minute into the third quarter, North Park tied the game up 26-26 before MACEY SHEERER (Bucyrus) rustled up five consecutive points for the Beavers. At the 5:23 mark of the third quarter, lay-ins by Kaycee Rowe and TJ Mills gave the visitors a 35-28 cushion. The Vikings would cut Bluffton’s lead to one possession before Macey Sheerer knocked down a triple to make it 40-34. Leading 42-40, Kaycee Rowe went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe to give the Beavers a 44-40 lead headed into the final stanza.
A 10-4 run by North Park propelled the home team to a 50-48 lead with 5:31 left in regulation. Consecutive threes by Macey Sheerer put Bluffton back ahead, 54-52. A 7-2 run by the Vikings made it 61-56 in favor of the home team with 1:28 left in regulation. With 32 seconds left, the Beavers made it a one-possession ballgame (61-59) following another Macey Sheerer trifecta. Bluffton was unable to get any closer as the hosts held on for a 63-59 victory.
Leading the charge for the Beavers was senior Macey Sheerer who went 7-of-13 from the field en route to 19 points that included a career-high five three-pointers to go along with seven boards. Kaycee Rowe added 14 markers with Abigail O’Donnell chipping in eight points and nine rebounds.
Bluffton went 21-of-58 (36.2 percent) from the field and 5-of-19 from behind the three-point line, however, everyone not named Sheerer combined for an 0-of-12 night from distance. North Park shot 25-of-58 (43.1 percent) from the floor and 1-of-13 outside the arc. The Beavers finished with a slim 39-38 edge on the glass but were outscored in bench points by a 20-8 margin. Both teams coughed it up 20 times in the championship game.
Heading back to the Sommer Center on Tuesday, Nov. 21, Bluffton will host Heidelberg in the home opener. The Beavers are set to tip at 6 PM in game one of a women's and men's doubleheader which kicks off Thanksgiving week. Come out and support your Beavers!