By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team defeated Waynesburg by a score of 77-68 in their McDonald's Holiday Tournament opener on Friday, Dec. 28. The victory pushed the Beavers to 4-6 on the season, while Waynesburg dropped to 3-8 overall.
The home team jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead after a Nora Hemminger (McComb) hoop and harm with 8:29 remaining in the first quarter. Waynesburg would respond, however, with a 17-2 run after a Brooke Fuller jumper gave them a 17-7 advantage with 3:11 on the clock. The teams exchanged baskets the rest of the quarter as the Beavers trailed 20-13 at the end of one stanza.
Waynesburg ponied up another 20 points in the second quarter while the Beavers netted just 14, making the score 40-27 Yellow Jackets at the break.
The Beavers would quickly cut the deficit to six points early in the third quarter after a three-point bomb by Breanna Graham (Springboro) made the score 40-34 with 7:08 in the period. The home team continued to claw its way back into the game and trailed just 52-50 at the end of three quarters.
The fourth quarter was dominated by the Beavers as they outscored Waynesburg 27-16 in the final stanza. Hemminger scored 12 of her 17 points in the fourth, helping the Beavers pull away from the visiting Yellow Jackets.
Tj Mills (Dayton/Chaminade Julienne) led the Beavers in the scoring category, notching 20 while also grabbing seven rebounds and doling out a game-high four assists. Hemminger bucketed 17 points, hitting 6-of-13 from the floor, while also picking three steals in the victory. Graham scored 14 points off the bench for the Beavers thanks to a 4-of-8 night from outside the arc and she also handed out four dimes. Junior Chelsea Moore (Delaware/Olentangy) notched her first career double-double with all-time bests of 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Haley Porter led Waynesburg with 22 points, going 8-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-7 from distance. Erin Joyce scored 17 and Monica Starre tacked on 13 points. Brooke Fuller had a double-double, scoring 12 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
Bluffton shot 28-of-69 from the field, making 40.6 percent of their shots. Waynesburg finished 24-for-61 (39.3 percent) on field goals. The Beavers won the rebounding battle (48-41) and also handed out two more assists (14-12). The home team also doubled the bench points of Waynesburg as they had 24, compared to just 12 for the visitors.
The women will battle Wheaton College for the championship tomorrow (Saturday) with the game set to tip at 5 P.M. Come out and support your Beavers!