By: Nick Taflinger, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team fell to rival Defiance College by the score of 68-50 on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The loss dropped the Beavers to 7-15 on the year and 5-10 in the Heartland Conference. Defiance improved to 8-14 and is now 7-8 in Heartland Conference play.
Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) carried the offense early as she scored the first five points for the Beavers en route to a 5-3 lead with 7:59 remaining in the first round. Lauren Rogers then caught fire, scoring the next 11 points for Defiance which included three triples, helping the visiting team take a 14-10 lead with 5:09 remaining in the quarter. Breanna Graham (Springboro) hit two trifectas to help lift the Bluffton offense, keeping the home team in striking range as the Beavers trailed 20-15 after one.
Kylie Brock (Villa Hills, Ky.) dialed long distance to cut the deficit to four points (22-18) with 9:30 remaining in the second period. That turned out to be the only offense in the period as Bluffton went cold. However, the women held Defiance to just eight more points in the period, making the score 30-18 at halftime in favor of the Yellow Jackets. Bluffton connected on a paltry 1-of-14 shots in the second period.
Defiance did not slow down early in the third quarter as the Jackets continued to separate themselves from the Beavers, going up 37-20 following a Rogers layup with 7:13 left in the third quarter. Bluffton scrapped and clawed, but the home team still trailed 51-33 after three rounds.
Bluffton started the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run that consisted of two layups by Lj Olverson (Cincinnati/Princeton) as the Beavers trailed 51-40 with 7:14 to play. Eleven points was the closest they would get as Defiance used clock and played solid defense down the stretch en route to a 68-50 victory.
Olverson led the home team in scoring as she contributed 12 off the bench, while also pulling down a team-high seven rebounds. Graham scored 11 off the bench, while going 3-of-6 from long range to go along with her two steals. Mills scored 10 points, dished out a career-high tying eight assists and also had two steals.
Rogers led Defiance with 20 points while going a red-hot 8-of-10 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from long range. Shelby Stamm scored 11 points, pulled down a team-high 9 rebounds and also dished out a team-high four asissts. Sam Ervin bucketed 18 points off the bench for the visitors, while also pulling down eight rebounds. Taylor Day added 11 markers for the Yellow Jackets.
For the game, Bluffton shot 22-of-64, making 34.4 percent. Defiance hit 27-of-55 for 49.1 percent shooting. Bluffton connected on 5-of-21 for 23.8 percent from long distance, while Defiance finished 7-for-17 from long range. Bluffton was outrebounded (41-30) but the visitors also committed five more turnovers (15-10). Bluffton only shot two free throws in the entire game, going 1-of-2 for 50 percent. Defiance connected on 7-of-10 from the charity stripe for 70 percent.
Bluffton is back in the Sommer Center on Saturday, Feb. 9 when the Beavers host Anderson University. The men's game will take place at 2 P.M., with the women to tip around 4 p.m. in the last Saturday doubleheader of 2018-19 as well as the final women's home game of the season. Come out and support your Beavers as they continue to fight to get into the HCAC Tournament! Go Beavers!