By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team fell 57-51 at Mount St. Joseph in the first game of 2019 on Wednesday, Jan. 2. The loss dropped the Beavers to 4-8 on the season (2-3 HCAC), while MSJ improved to 8-4 (3-2 HCAC).
Chelsea Moore (Delaware/Olentangy) got the Beavers going early with a layup for a quick 2-0 advantage. However, MSJ would respond with a 19-0 run capped off by two free throws from Brooke Sturwold with 4:18 remaining in the first quarter. The Beavers fought back to within 13 as they trailed 21-8 at the end of one period.
The second quarter was a struggle if you are a fan of offense as there were just 15 total points between the combatants: eight for the visiting team and seven for the home team, making the score 28-16 at the break.
The Beavers started the third quarter on fire, putting up a 10-0 run that was capped off by an Abbie Parkins (Bluffton) three-point shot which made the score 28-26 with 6:44 on the clock. The visitors finally pulled even at 31 after a Tj Mills (Dayton/Chaminade Julienne) layin with 5:03 in the quarter. The Beavers continue to fight, eventually taking a 41-40 lead at the end of the third thanks to an impressive 25 points in the quarter.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth battle between the Heartland Conference foes. The dagger happened with 14 seconds left when Mackenzie Marcum drilled a three-ball for MSJ to give them a 57-51 advantage which held for the final score
Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) led the Beavers in the scoring category, notching 14 points while also pulling down seven rebounds. Mills scored 12 points in just 19 minutes and she dished out five assists. Lj Olverson (Cincinnati/Princeton) tallied nine counters and ripped down a career-high 10 boards. Parkins and Nora Hemminger (McComb) also cashed in with career highs of 10 and seven rebounds, respectively.
MSJ had three women score in double digits: Lainee Studier with 12, Maddie Haberthy with 12 and Alehia Tucker with 10. Studer also added six steals and three blocks to her stat line, making her presence known on the defensive end as well.
Bluffton shot 19-of-61 in the contest, making just 31.1 percent of their field goals. MSJ was even worse as they struggled to 19-for-64 from the field (29.7 percent). The Beavers managed only 3-of-20 from three-point land for 15 percent. The Lions were a respectable 7-of-23 from long distance for 30.4 percent. The visitors pulled down nine more rebounds (49-40), but they also turned it over 10 more times (21-11).
The Beavers will have another chance for their first victory of 2019 on Saturday, Jan. 5, when they head to Anderson University for a matchup that will tip at 2 P.M. The men's game is slated to follow. The next Bluffton home games are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12, against Rose-Hulman. The men jump it up at 1 P.M. with the girls on tap for 3 p.m. Come out and support your Beavers!