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January 20, 2021

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Bluffton women open season with win

The Bluffton University women's basketball team did what few squads have done. It played a game and defeated Manchester last night. 

The Beavers trailed throughout much of the first half before turning it around with an 18-12 edge in the third quarter. Bluffton stands 1-0, while the Spartans slipped to 0-2 on the young campaign.

Sophomore Ella Zaborowski (Toledo/Toledo Christian) netted Bluffton's first points of the season with her jumper just over a minute into the game. Back-to-back deuces by fellow sophomores Peyton Henry (Leipsic) and Sammy Shardo (Findlay/Liberty-Benton) put the home team up 7-6 midway through the first quarter.

Triples by freshman Taylor Malson (Castalia/Margaretta) and sophomore Kortnie Starr (Blacklick/Licking Heights) made it 16-14 after one quarter of action.

The Spartans were up 26-22 late in the half when Bluffton turned it around with a quick 6-0 spurt that helped the home team go into the break tied 28-28.

A 14-5 jag to open the third quarter was powered by seven points from senior Kylie Brock (Villa Hills, KY/Dixie Heights) who converted a hoop-and-harm before dialing long distance. Sophomore Haley Byrnes (Worthington/Thomas Worthington) got to the rack and Shardo drilled a pair at the charity stripe as Bluffton went to the final stanza with a 46-40 edge.

An old-fashioned three-point play by junior Emma Saltzman (Arcadia) made it a nine-point game (51-42) at the 7:34 mark and when Zaborowski hit from deep with 4:02 to play the verdict was all but sealed with Bluffton up 58-48.

Freshman Angel Schneider (Columbus Grove) left no doubt as she scored seven points down the stretch to ensure a Bluffton victory in the 2020-21 lidlifter.

Schneider and Shardo led the way with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Malson added nine in her debut, while Brock bucketed seven counters. Saltzman ripped down nine boards. 

Nora Hemminger (McComb) chipped in with seven caroms, while Schneider and Shardo added six boards apiece. Shardo stuffed the stat sheet with five steals and Henry doled out three assists.

Bluffton struggled from the field, hitting 24-of-74 (32.4 percent), but the home team did knock down seven treys. The Beavers pulled down four more boards (46-42) and took advantage of 23 turnovers by the Spartans. 

The women will be back in the Sommer Center when Manchester makes a quick return trip to see the Beavers Saturday, Nov. 14. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m.