The cold weather returned to Bluffton Wednesday, along with the women’s basketball team, who returned to Copeland Court. Bluffton (13-5, 8-3 HCAC) looked to bounce back at home in the Sommer Center after losing 73-59 on the road to a tough Transylvania Pioneers team in Lexington, Ky. The Beavers played host to the Earlham College Quakers (3-15, 3-8 HCAC) and won 58-39.
The first half did not fare well with either team.
After a 20-14 Bluffton lead at the end of the first quarter, both teams combined to score 15 total points in the second and the Beavers took a 29-20 halftime lead.
“I didn’t think that we had a real good second quarter,” said Bluffton Head Coach Chad Shutler. “We turned it over uncharacteristically, I think, for our team.”
And Bluffton did.
They committed 10 turnovers in the first half alone, while Earlham committed four more than the Beavers with 14.
“We talked about just having more poise attacking the pressure and getting it up the court a little better,” said Shutler on his halftime conversation. “Which I thought we did in the third quarter.”
Bluffton came out of the gates firing, going on a 9-0 run in the opening four minutes of the second half.
“We started to push the ball up the floor,” said senior Kaycee Rowe (Harrod/Allen East). “In the first half, we kind of slowly walked it up [the court], and once we started pushing it, we started breaking their press a lot quicker which led to layups which got us going in the second half.”
Defensively, Bluffton had no problems. They held the Quakers to 39 total points, shooting 14-46 (30.4 percent) from the field. Bluffton turned Earlham over 29 times which led to 24 points for the Beavers.
“I really thought what the key for us tonight was our defense,” said Coach Shutler. “To be able to hold them to 39 points; we turned them over 29 times. I thought our post defense was really solid on 43 (Zoe Curtis). She was player of the week in the conference, averaging 15 points the last two or three games, so we really put a target on her back and said ‘we got to limit her touches’.”
Curtis, the freshman from New Castle, Ind., finished with 4 points on shooting two-for-five from the field, was shut down by senior forward Abigail O’Donnell (Arcanum/Arcanum).
Next up for the Beavers is a tough home game this Saturday on Alumni Day against the Hanover College Panthers with tip-off scheduled for 1 p.m.
“We are shooting eleven percent from the three-point line (1-9),” said Coach Shutler on adjustments for Saturday’s game. “At times I think our ball movement [needs] to get a little better against the zone and our attack and execution against the zone. We have seen a lot of zone, so that’s a little bit puzzling but we got to move the ball better. I thought we handled their pressure ok, I really like how we shot it from the free-throw line ( 15-19, 79 percent), so we got to be able to get to the line this weekend and hit some shots for sure.”