By: Takayla Gadberry, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team welcomed Cairn University to the Sommer Center on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, for day one of the McDonald's Holiday Classic. The Beavers secured a 77-38 victory over the Highlanders. Bluffton moved to 7-2 (2-1 HCAC) on the season while Cairn fell to 0-10.
The Highlanders struck first with a jump shot but a Kylie Brock (Villa Hills, KY/Dixie Heights) free throw followed by four straight Sammy Shardo (Findlay/Liberty-Benton) triples gave the Beavers an early 13-2 advantage. A Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) layup made the score 17-4 at the end of the first quarter.
Brock and Peyton Henry (Leipsic) both hit trifectas early in the second quarter to extend the Bluffton lead to 17 (26-9). Three more shots from deep had Shardo setting the Bluffton individual single-game record for three-point field goals made, putting the home team up 45-12 at the half!
Nora Hemminger (McComb) and Brock drained threes to give Bluffton a 51-16 lead with 6:11 to go in the third. Charity shots for Emma Saltzman (Arcadia), Peyton Henry (Leipsic), Kortnie Starr (Blacklick/Licking Heights), and Ella Zaborowski (Toledo/Toledo Christian) pushed Bluffton's lead to 62-23 heading into the final period.
Jade Case (Blacklick/Licking Heights) and Claire Myree (Cincinnati/Lakota West) started off the Beaver offense with back-to-back layups, making the score 66-23 in favor of Bluffton. Carin would go on a 9-0 run before Case converted a tip-in to make the score 68-32 with 3:58 left in regulation. A Myree layup nailed down the 77-38 win.
Shardo led the Beaver offense with 21 points, going 7-of-9 to set yet another all-time record for efficiency from distance. Gillig tallied 10 markers with Case and Brock pitching in nine apiece. Saltzman and Abbie Parkins (Bluffton) led the defense with eight and six rebounds, respectively. Four other Beavers pulled down four boards each. Tj Mills (Dayton/Chaminade-Julienne) and Gillig picked up four and three steals, respectively.
Bluffton connected on 29-of-69 (42 percent) from the field, including 11-of-26 (42.3 percent) from deep. Cairn was only able to hit 13-of-57 (22.8 percent) and 3-of-20 (15 percent) on threes. The Beavers weren't as productive at the stripe as they hit 8-of-14 (57.1 percent), compared to the Highlanders 9-of-14 (64.3 percent). The home team pulled down 10 more boards (48-38) and forced five more turnovers (21-16).
Olivet (3-8) handed Westminster (10-1) its first loss of the season, 61-59, in the McDonald's Classic opener on Saturday.
Bluffton is back in action on Sunday, Dec. 29 when they face Westminster in day two of the McDonalds Holiday Classic. Tip-off is slated for 5 p.m. Go Beavers!