By: Takayla Gadberry, sports information assistant
FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Bluffton University women's basketball team traveled to Franklin College on Dec. 7, 2019, for a Saturday matchup against the Grizzlies. An offensive drought left the Beavers with their first loss of the season as Franklin secured the 81-53 victory. Bluffton fell to 5-1 (1-1 HCAC) while Franklin improved to 3-2 (1-1 HCAC).
A 10-2 run gave Franklin an early 12-4 lead. A layup from Emma Saltzman (Arcadia) cut the Beaver deficit to just one with a little over three minutes to play in the first. Two charity shots for Tj Mills (Dayton/Chaminade-Julienne) evened the score at 16 apiece. The Beavers couldn't pull ahead though as Franklin held a 20-18 lead at the end of one.
A potent offense by the Grizzlies pushed their lead to 37-25 midway through the second quarter. A layup and triple from Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) cut Franklin's lead to 10 (42-32) going into the break.
A quick Britney Ballard triple pushed Franklin's lead to 45-32. Bluffton's defense continued to struggle as the Grizzlies went up by as many as 22 (57-35) and Bluffton managed just 10 points to make the score 63-42 going into the final stanza.
Gillig hit the first shot in the paint followed by a Kylie Brock (Villa Hills, KY/Dixie Heights) three and layup to cut the Beaver deficit to 69-49. The Grizzly offense proved to be too much for Bluffton to handle as the home team secured the 81-53 victory.
Getting it done was again was Gillig who led the Beaver offense with a career-high tying 25 points while also pulling down a game-high 12 boards in her third career double-double. Mills chipped in 10 points and four steals while Brock bucketed seven markers.
Bluffton connected on just 16-of-51 (31.4 percent) of their shots and 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) from deep. Players not named Gillig made only 8-of-39 from field for less than 20 percent shooting. Franklin saw slightly better numbers, going 33-of-78 (42.3 percent) from the field and 8-of-23 (34.8 percent) from distance. The Beavers hit 19-of-28 (67.9 percent) from the charity strip, while the Grizzlies bucketed 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) at the line. Bluffton forced seven more turnovers (22-15), but pulled down 13 fewer boards (50-37).
The women will have a week off to work on their final exams before they return to action on Saturday, Dec. 14, when they welcome Rose-Hulman to Copeland Court. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m. with the men's game to follow at 3 p.m. Come out and support your Beavers!