By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Bluffton University women's basketball team was steamrolled by Franklin College on Saturday, Feb. 16, by the score of 83-56. The loss dropped the Beavers to 9-16 and 7-11 in Heartland Conference play. Franklin finished the season 8-17, including a 6-12 mark in HCAC games.
The first quarter was a high scoring one as both teams were having no problem getting the ball into the hoop. Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) had nine points in the opening period to pace the Beavers. Franklin led by the score of 23-20 after one round.
The second quarter was once again controlled by Franklin, but the scoring pace slowed considerably. Bluffton was never able to gain control of the lead in the second stanza, as the visitors went into the halftime break trailing by seven, 37-30.
Franklin quickly stretched the lead to 16 points in the third stanza, 48-32, with 6:05 remaining in the third quarter. The rest of the period went back-and-forth but the Beavers still trailed 59-44 at the end of three rounds.
The fourth quarter was more of the same as Franklin completely dominated with 24 points, compared to Bluffton's 12, en route to a convincing 83-56 victory.
Tj Mills (Dayton/Chaminade Julienne) scored 19 points for the Beavers, going 7-of-11 from the field and 4-for-4 from the charity stripe, while pulling down five rebounds. Gillig scored 14 points while going 6-of-8 from the floor to go along with four rebounds. Abbie Parkins (Bluffton) led the Beavers in rebounds with six.
Bayleigh Walker scored 15 points for the home team, going 7-of-10 from the floor, while pulling down six rebounds. Destinee Cross added 14 points thanks to a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe, and she also had four steals. Ashlin Aycock pitched in 10 counters for the home team.
Bluffton hit 21-of-58 from the floor for 36.2 percent shooting. Franklin made 30-of-64 from the field for 46.9 percent. Both teams struggled from distance as Bluffton connected on 3-of-18 for 16.7 percent, while Franklin was just 1-of-9 from deep for 11.1 percent. Bluffton was outrebounded (44-32) and committed 18 turnovers to Franklin's 10. The Grizzlies also finished with 18 more points off the bench (27-19).
Bluffton will quickly put the loss to Franklin in rearview mirror as the Beavers look forward to their opening round HCAC tournament contest at Hanover College on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. with the victor punching its ticket to Lexington, Ky., for a matchup with Rose-Hulman in the semifinals at Transylvania on Friday night. Go Beavers!