By: Takayla Gadberry, sports information assistant
DEFIANCE, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's basketball team traveled to Heartland Conference rival Defiance College on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. The Beavers dropped a 55-50 decision to the Yellow Jackets. Bluffton slipped to 8-4 (2-3 HCAC) on the season, while Defiance improved to 4-8 (3-2 HCAC).
After a Yellow Jacket bucket and a slow start for the Beavers, Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) hit a shot to knot the score at 2-2. Two more Bluffton buckets from Abbie Parkins (Bluffton) and Nora Hemminger (McComb) left the Beavers down by three (11-8) at the end of the first.
An 8-4 run for the Yellow Jackets had them up 19-12 with 3:52 to play in the second period. Two deuces from Tj Mills (Dayton/Chaminade-Julienne) and two freebies for Parkins pulled Bluffton back within three (23-20) at the break.
The offense struggled to start the second half with five minutes passing before Hemminger made a layup to keep Bluffton within five at 27-22. A Parkins triple followed by Dj Keesey (Cadiz/Harrison Central) and Mills makes from the charity stripe cut the Beaver deficit to seven (38-31) going into the final stanza.
Mills hit a trifecta early in the fourth quarter before Gillig dialed long distance to pull the Beavers within three (49-46) with 3:37 left in regulation. Mills and Hemminger would both hit two more freebies apiece but it wasn't enough as the Beavers fell to Defiance by a final score of 55-50.
Mills, who eclipsed 1,000 career points, and Hemminger led the Bluffton offense with 13 markers each. Gillig and Parkins both tallied nine points in the loss. Parkins also led the defense with 10 rebounds and a career-high seven steals. Emma Saltzman (Arcadia) and Kylie Brock (Villa Hills, KY/Dixie Heights) were in on seven and five boards, respectively.
Bluffton struggled mightily from the field, connecting on just 15-of-60 (25 percent) and 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) from distance. Defiance hit 20-of-47 (42.6 percent) field goals and 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) from deep. The Beavers had an impressive night at the stripe, going 17-of-18 (94.4 percent), compared to 12-of-17 (70.6 percent) for the hosts. Bluffton pulled down seven fewer boards (40-33) but forced 11 more turnovers (25-14).
The women are back in action on Saturday, Jan. 11, when they travel to Hanover College. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. following the men's contest with the Panthers at 2 p.m. Go Beavers!