By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team lost a high-scoring affair to HCAC-leading Transylvania on Saturday, Jan. 19, by the score of 75-67. The setback dropped the Beavers to 6-11 on the season (4-6 HCAC), while Transylvania improved to 15-2 and 9-1 in the Heartland Conference.
The visiting team started the game off in rapid-fire fashion as they took an early 7-0 lead following a layup by Shelby Boyle with 8:18 remaining in the first quarter. Junior Tj Mills (Dayton/Chaminade Julienne) would help the Beavers cut the deficit to one point after back-to-back triples made the score 12-11 with 6:20 to play in the quarter. Transylvania responded with a 10-0 run en route to a 27-15 advantage after one period.
Freshman Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) scored on three straight possessions early in the second quarter to help cut the deficit to 11 with 7:55 on the clock. Nora Hemminger (McComb) drilled back-to-back triples in a span of 45 seconds, but the Beavers still trailed 39-29 with 5:16 left in the period as Transylvania continued to light up the scoreboard. Bluffton would finish the quarter on a 12-6 run as the home team went into the halftime break trailing 45-41 thanks to a Breanna Graham (Springboro) three-point bomb with just two seconds left in the opening half.
Lj Olverson (Cincinnati/Princeton) hit two quick layups to begin the third stanza, tying the score at 45-45 with 9:10 remaining in the quarter. However, Transylvania quickly responded with an 11-0 spurt capped off by a Boyle three-point bomb which made the score 56-45 with 6:11 on the clock. The rest of the quarter went back-and-forth as Bluffton trailed 66-54 at the end of three rounds.
Transylvania began the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run, extending the lead to 72-54 with 8:14 remaining. Olverson responded with a 6-0 jag of her own as she dominated the paint to make the score 72-60 with 3:34 remaining. The Beavers continued to battle, capping a 13-0 run with a Mills three-point bomb that pulled Bluffton within five at 72-67 with 39 second remaining. The Beavers fought and clawed all 40 minutes, but came up just short as the Pioneers moved to 9-1 in the HCAC with their 75-67 victory.
Mills led the Beavers with 16 points, going 4-of-6 from three-point land. Olverson scored 14 points on a red-hot 7-for-9 from the floor. Gillig added 12 points, grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and also dished out a team-high four assists. Graham chipped in nine points off the bench as she went 3-of-7 from distance. Sophomore Abbie Parkins (Bluffton) pulled down six rebounds for the home team.
Transylvania was led by Boyle as she scored 25 points, going 9-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-9 from three-point land, and she also dished out a team-high six assists. Celia Kline bucketed 18 points, going 6-of-8 from the field. Miranda Otero dominated the defensive end with 13 rebounds and a team-high four steals off the bench. Ashton Woodward checked in with 12 points for the visiting team.
Bluffton shot 28-of-64 from the floor, making 43.8 percent of its shots. Transylvania went 25-of-57 for 43.9 percent from the field. The Beavers connected on 10-of-23 from outside the arc for an efficient 43.5 percent, while Transylvania finished 13-of-32 from long range for 40.6 percent. Bluffton outrebounded Transylvania (40-28) and also won the assists battle (17-16).
The women travel to Earlham College on Wednesday, Jan. 23, for a 7:30 p.m. tip in Richmond, Ind. The next home game for the Beavers is slated for Wednesday, Jan. 30, when they host Mount St. Joseph at 7:30 p.m. Come out and support your Beavers!