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Bluffton drops third straight after 75-53 loss to Franklin

By: Ryan Schadewald, sports information assistant
February 8, 2014

FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Franklin College women jumped out to a 10-point lead less than four minutes into the contest and never looked back while rolling to a 75-53 victory over visiting Bluffton on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. The Beavers slipped to 11-10 overall and 7-7 in the Heartland Conference following their third straight setback, while Franklin improved to 12-9 and an impressive 10-4 in HCAC action.

Five Bluffton turnovers in the first four minutes set the tone as Franklin took advantage of the miscues, going up 12-2 following a HANNAH BALLARDfastbreak layup at the 16:22 mark. The visitors showed signs of life with a 9-2 spurt which made the score 14-11 thanks to a pair of RACHEL BEINING(Ottoville) chip shots and a GWEN DOWNING (Kenton) trifecta.

An 18-4 run by the Grizzlies quelled Bluffton's momentum and ended any thoughts of a 2013-14 Beaver sweep for the women. Franklin continued to pour it on as the first half wound down, taking a 49-25 lead into the break.

Bluffton came out and pulled within 17 (54-37) with 14:05 to play on the strength of consecutive BROOKE RUFFER (Stryker) deuces and a hoop and harm from TAYLOR KNIGHT (Perrysburg). However, seven straight points for Franklin put the game out of reach as the Grizzlies finished off their 75-53 victory on Saturday afternoon.

Brooke Ruffer tried to put Bluffton on her back with 19 points, five rebounds and five steals while hitting 8-of-14 from the field. Rachel Beining just missed out on a double-double with 11 points and eight boards. Freshman ANNA HAIRSTON (Mansfield/Ontario) pulled down four rebounds and BELICIA COOPER (Painesville/Riverside) came up with three steals.

Bluffton hit just 19-of-52 (36.5 percent) from the field, including a meager 2-for-15 (13.3 percent) on triples. The Beavers also struggled from the line with 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) shooting, compared to Franklin's 10-of-13 (76.9) on freebies. Franklin lit it up from the field, going 27-of-51 (52.9 percent), including a blistering 11-of-17 (64.7 percent) from distance. The Grizzlies pulled down two more rebounds (34-32) while Bluffton turned it over two more times (26-24).

The Beavers need to break out of their slump after falling to fifth place in the Heartland Conference standings with just four games to play. Bluffton travels to Mount St. Joseph for a crucial matchup with the Lions on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. in Cincinnati. The Beavers wrap up their regular season slate with three straight home contests starting Saturday, Feb. 15 when they welcome Rose-Hulman to the Sommer Center.