By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team defeated Franklin College in dominating fashion as they coasted to a 69-52 victory on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. The win pushed the Beavers to 3-6 on the season (2-2 in HCAC). Franklin dropped to 2-6 on the year (1-3 in HCAC).
The first quarter was a back-and-forth battle between the Beavers and the Grizzlies as the teams went bucket for bucket with the score being 16-14 in favor of Bluffton at the end of period one. The Beavers had six contributors to the scoring column as it was a balanced effort from the start.
The Grizzlies tied the score at 16-16 after a Bayleigh Walker layup with 9:34 on the clock in the second quarter. The Beavers went on a 6-0 run capped off by a Tj Mills (Dayton/Chaminade-Julienne) jump shot with 6:50 remaining in the half. The Grizzlies then responded with a 6-0 run of their own to even the score at 22 after an Isabella Ratliff bucket. A 7-0 Beaver spurt made the score 29-22, finished off by a triple from Nora Hemminger (McComb) with 1:15 left in the half. Bluffton went to the break with a 32-25 advantage.
The Beavers opened up the second half on a 15-7 run after two free throws by Mills with 3:37 in the quarter, making the score 47-32. Bluffton continued to extend its lead as the home team pushed the margin to 55-37 at the end of three quarters.
The fourth quarter was filled with solid play from both teams as the Grizzlies forced Bluffton into six turnovers, but it was too little, too late. Franklin outscored the Beavers, 15-14, in the final stanza, making the score 69-52 when the horn sounded.
The Beavers were led by Hemminger as she scored a career-high 18 points in the contest, going 6-of-11 from the floor and 2-of-4 outside the arc. Hemminger also led the Beavers with four steals. Mills scored 17 points in the game, going 5-of-11 from the floor while shooting an impressive 7-for-8 from the charity stripe. She also led the Beavers with five assists. Abbie Parkins (Bluffton) chipped in great minutes off the bench as she scored a career-high 11 points while also setting a career-high for three-pointers as she went 3-of-5 from long distance. Parkins added eight rebounds for the victors, which was another career high. Other contributors were Kylie Brock (Villas Hills, Ky.) who scored six points off the bench and had three steals. Emma Saltzman (Arcadia) stuffed the visitors with four blocks, while fellow freshman Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) ripped down eight rebounds.
Franklin was led by Destinee Cross as she scored 14 points off the bench in just 22 minutes on the court. Walker had 10 points for the Grizzlies, going 4-of-9 from the floor. Ashlin Aycock added eight rebounds and seven assists. The Grizzlies had nine different players crack the scoring column.
Bluffton shot 40 percent from the field, knocking down 20-of-50, while Franklin hit 33.3 percent (20-of-60). The Beavers went 5-for-17 from distance for 29.4 percent. The visitors were just 1-of-7 from distance for a paltry 14.3 percent. The Beavers forced the Grizzlies into 20 turnovers, while committing just 16 miscues. Bluffton made hay at the foul line, converting 24-of-31 freebies for 77.4 percent. The Grizzlies shot 11-of-16 from the free throw line (68.8 percent).
The Beavers are off until after Christmas when they welcome Waynesburg at 5 P.M. on December 28, for the first day of the McDonald's Holiday Tournament. Come out and support your Beavers!