By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
HANOVER, Ind. - The Bluffton University women's basketball team lost a high-scoring affair (89-80) on Saturday, Jan. 26, to a talented Hanover team. The loss dropped the Beavers to 6-13 on the season (4-8 HCAC). Hanover improved to 13-6 and 9-3 in the Heartland Conference.
The Beavers raced out of the gates to a 4-1 lead after two Lj Olverson (Cincinnati/Princeton) layups. Hanover responded with a 15-0 run, capped off by a jump shot from Savannah Courtney with 5:21 left in the quarter, making the score 16-4. The Beavers had an answer, finishing the quarter on a 14-2 jag which included two triples by Breanna Graham (Springboro). The game was knotted 18-18 at the end of one period.
Triples by Nora Hemminger (McComb) and Tj Mills (Dayton/Chaminade Julienne) to open up the second quarter gave the Beavers a 24-18 advantage with 8:39 remaining in the first half. Bluffton finished the quarter on a 6-0 run that included four points from Kylie Brock (Villa Hills, Ky.) as the Beavers went into halftime with a 44-35 advantage.
Bluffton continued its success on offense as the visitors put up 19 in the third round. However, Hanover found its rhythm as the Panthers rolled out an impressive 28 points in the quarter. Hanover drilled 11-of-12 from the charity stripe in the third quarter, making the score 63-63 with 10 minutes to play.
The Beavers continued to battle but Hanover was able to make their free throws and shots when they counted most en route to an 89-80 victory thanks to a 26-17 spread in the fourth.
Mills led the Beavers in the scoring category with a career-high tying 22 points, going 3-of-4 from long range and 7-for-8 at the charity stripe. She also dished out a team-high seven assists and six steals. Brock contributed 14 points off the bench. Abbie Parkins (Bluffton) chipped in a career-high 12 for the visitors. Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) and Emma Saltzman (Arcadia) both pulled down seven rebounds for the Beavers.
Hanover was led by Alexis Nall as she scored 34 points while going 11-of-14 from the floor and 10-of-11 at the charity stripe. Nall also pulled down eight rebounds. Kristin Mills scored 15 off the bench for the home team. Maleha Motter had a double-double as she scored 12 points and ripped down a team-high 13 rebounds. Claire Cromer picked up a team-high five steals for the Panthers.
The Beavers hit 29-of-63 from the field, making 46 percent of their shots. Hanover went 26-of-57 for 45.6 percent from the field. From long distance, Bluffton was 9-of-22 for 40.9 percent, while the Panthers connected on 6-of-15 for 40 percent. Both teams were effective from the free throw line as the Beavers drained 13-of-16 (81.3 percent) and Hanover made hay with 31-of-39 for 79.5 percent. Bluffton outrebounded Hanover (36-33), while the Panthers doled out three more assists (19-16). Bluffton committed 23 turnovers, two more miscues than the home team.
Bluffton's next contest is slated for the Sommer Center on Wednesday, Jan. 30, when the women host Mount St. Joseph in a game that will tip at 7:30 P.M. Come out and support your Beavers!