|Bluffton’s big second half hands Defiance defeat|
|Wednesday, January 29, 2014 9:00 PM|
BLUFFTON — The Purple and Gold women’s basketball team held a three-point lead over the Beavers at the break, but Bluffton took control of the game in the final 20 minutes to best DC 71-55 on Wednesday, January 29.
With the victory by the home team, it evens out the 2013-14 season series between the Jackets and Beavers. It is the fourth time in five seasons the squads have split the pair of rivalry matchups.
Defiance falls to 7-11, 4-7 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, while BU wins its seventh-straight home game to improve to 11-7, 7-4 HCAC.
Early on, play was sloppy for both sides. In the first three and a half minutes, DC and BU combined for seven turnovers, while only scoring six total points.
But slowly, each squad started to find a bit of a groove. For the Purple and Gold Ashley Birchmeier (Vaughnsville/Columbus Grove) had the hot hand early, knocking down a pair of threes that knotted the score at 11-11 with just over 10 minutes left in the first.
Then action started to tilt in the Beavers favor. A triple from Bluffton’s Kaitlyn Pennekamp capped a 12-4 spurt by the home squad that left Defiance trailing 23-15 at the 5:34 mark.
However, it was all Yellow Jackets throughout the rest of the period. They closed out the last five-plus minutes on a 16-5 surge to take a slim 31-28 advantage into the locker room for halftime.
A big reason for the strong end to the half was due to the Purple and Gold taking care of the ball. DC recorded five turnovers in the first seven minutes of action, but was able to go the last 13 minutes without a single turnover.
The second period started well for the Lady Jackets, as they battled the Beavers hard for the first 10 minutes of the half and clung on to a two-point advantage at 47-45.
Unfortunately for the Purple and Gold, the Bluffton found a rhythm late and couldn’t be stopped. BU racked up the next 12 of the next 13 points to go on top 58-48 with 5:30 to play. The Beavers then continued to cruise through the rest of regulation and came away with a big 71-55 rivalry win.
In the loss, BU outshot (.421 percent to .328) and outrebounded (42-35) DC. Defiance has now been held to under .400 shooting and outrebounded in three of its last four matchups. From the charity stripe, the Beavers had a big advantage by going 20-of-28 (.714) to the Yellow Jackets 11-of-18 (.611). A positive from the game was the Jackets only committed 13, which was the second lowest amount this season.
For the low-scoring night, Tietje led Defiance with 14 points and nine rebounds. However, the DC center with the HCAC’s fourth-highest field-goal percentage, really struggled shooting on the night going 5-of-16. She is now 9-of-29 in her last two contests.
Coming off the bench to score 11 points was Birchmeier. The senior guard was efficient in her 15 minutes of play, going 4-of-7 from the field (3-of-5 from distance) with only one turnover.
Others chipping in on the night were Kim Bingley (Ottawa, Ohio / Ottawa-Glandorf) with 10 rebounds, 5 points and three steals and Erica King (Wauseon, Ohio / Pettisville) with eight points and three boards. King moved into 13th on DC’s all-time scoring list with her outing.
The Yellow Jackets will try to snap this two-game slide on Saturday when it travels down to Terra Haute, Ind. for a rematch with the Rose-Hulman Fightin’ Engineers (7-10, 5-5 HCAC). Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m.