By: Takayla Gadberry, sports information assistant
HANOVER, Ind. - The Bluffton University women's basketball team fell behind 25-7 at the end of one quarter and it was too much to overcome as Hanover College held off the Beavers for a 62-53 win on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. Bluffton slipped to 8-5 overall and 2-4 in the Heartland Conference, while Hanover improved to 7-5 with a spotless 6-0 mark in the HCAC heading into the Panthers' showdown with 6-0 Transylvania on Wednesday night.
Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) hit the first shot of the night to give the Beavers an early 2-0 lead but it didn't last long as the Panthers outscored Bluffton 25-7 in the first period. The offense sparked late in the second quarter when Kylie Brock (Villa Hills, KY/Dixie Heights) hit a triple to make the score 32-11. The defense did its job before two charity shots from Brock and three for Tj Mills (Dayton/Chaminade-Julienne) along with a Gillig layup helped trim the Beaver deficit to 16 (34-18). Two Gillig freebies would make the score 35-23 going into the break.
Mills hit the first layup of the second half before a shot in the paint from freshman Peyton Henry (Leipsic) made the score 45-29 mid-way through the third. Junior Abbie Parkins (Bluffton) hit a free throw to make the score 49-37 going into the final stanza. Haley Byrnes (Worthington/Thomas Worthington) netted a shot early in the fourth to make the score 49-39. Mills dialed long distance with 55 ticks left, but it wouldn't be enough.
Gillig led the Beavers on both ends with 17 points and 13 rebounds for her fourth career double-double. Mills and Nora Hemminger (McComb) tallied 10 and eight markers, respectively. Parkins grabbed nine rebounds with Byrnes pulling down a career-high five boards of her own. Byrnes also bucketed a career-best six counters.
Both teams struggled shooting with Bluffton connecting on just 19-of-67 (28.4 percent) from the field and 3-of-20 (15 percent) from distance, compared to Hanover's 25-of-66 (37.9 percent) and 3-of-12 (25 percent). From the free throw line, the Beavers converted just 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) with Hanover hitting a paltry 9-of-18 (50 percent). The visiting team pulled down three more boards (50-47) but coughed up the ball four more times (18-14).
The Beavers will return to the Sommer Center on Wednesday, Jan. 15, when the Earlham College Quakers come to town. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.