By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
RICHMOND, Ind. - The Bluffton University women's basketball team was defeated at Earlham by the score of 70-60 on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. The loss dropped the Beavers to 6-12 on the year (4-7 HCAC), while Earlham improved to 6-11 and 4-6 in the Heartland Conference.
The Beavers struggled from the floor and also committed early turnovers as they found themselves in a 9-2 hole with 5:41 remaining in the opening quarter after a Kayla Bowling layup. Bluffton made up for it with its defense, pulling within two points, 9-7, at the end of one round.
In the second quarter the scoring began to pick up. The teams exchanged baskets, but Bluffton was never able to capture the lead. Junior Tj Mills (Dayton/Chaminade-Julienne) scored six points and Breanna Graham (Springboro) added five markers to help lift the Beavers on the offensive end as the visitors trailed 28-24 at the break.
Earlham kicked off the second half in the same fashion as the first, scoring seven right out of the gates to widen the lead to 35-24 with 8:44 remaining in the third period. Bluffton continued to fight, but Earlham had an answer for every punch the Beavers threw at them. Bluffton connected on 4-of-6 from long range, two of them coming from sophomore Kylie Brock (Villa Hills, Ky.). The Beavers still trailed by the score of 52-43 heading to the final stanza.
The fourth quarter was controlled by the home team as they outscored the Beavers 18-17 en route to a 70-60 victory. Bluffton played solid in the second half, but it was too little, too late as the home team made enough plays to win the game.
Mills led the Beavers in scoring as she put up a career-high 22, going 8-of-15 from the floor to go along with four steals. Graham scored 11 off the bench, going 3-of-6 from long distance. Brock scored eight thanks to 2-of-4 shooting on triples. Fellow sophomore Nora Hemminger (McComb) had a career-best five steals while also going a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. Freshman Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) led the Beavers in rebounds with eight.
Earlham was led by Camryn White who scored 17 points while going 9-of-13 from the free throw line. Zoe Curtis added 11 points while pulling down a team-high eight rebounds. Kayla Bowling tallied 13 counters and Kyndall Spears scored 11 off the bench for the home team.
Bluffton shot 20-of-49 on the night, making 40.8 percent of its field goal attempts. Earlham hit 45.8 percent on 22-of-48 from the floor. The Beavers drilled 7-of-16 from distance, making 43.8 percent, while the Quakers fired up 7-of-14 for an efficient 50 percent of their long distance bombs. Bluffton was outrebounded 33-32. Earlham had 18 assists to Bluffton's 13. The visitors committed 23 turnovers to Earlham's 21.
The Beavers return to action on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Hanover College in the second game of a doubleheader. The men start at 2 p.m. and the women will follow at approximately 4 p.m. The next home game for the women is slated for Wednesday, Jan. 30, when they host Mount St. Joseph at 7:30 p.m. Come out and support your Beavers!