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November 27, 2021

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Bluffton downs Heidelberg 64-51

Courtesy BlufftonBeavers.com

The Bluffton University women's basketball team saved its best for last on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. Bluffton finished on a 19-6 jag after Heidelberg knotted the game at 45-45 with 8:52 to play. The Student Princes fell to 1-5, while Bluffton moved to 2-1 with its second straight victory.

It was still a one-point game (47-46) when Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) knocked down a pair from the charity stripe with less than six minutes on the clock. Sammy Shardo (Findlay/Liberty-Benton) made it 51-46 after a media timeout at the five-minute mark. Following two more Gillig freebies, Shardo put the game on ice with consecutive triples, both from fellow junior Peyton Henry (Leipsic), as the visitors opened up a commanding 60-49 spread. Gillig and fellow senior Emma Saltzman (Arcadia) closed out the 64-51 win with four free throws on Tuesday night.

The home team led 14-10 following period number one before Henry connected from deep, making it a one-point game. Henry kept the Beavers within striking distance with consecutive deuces that made it 18-17 at the 6:44 mark. She capped off her 10-point splurge in a span of less than five minutes when Henry put Bluffton up 22-21 midway through the second stanza.

Gillig converted a hoop-and-harm and Morgan Smith (Arlington) hit from in close, giving the visitors a 27-23 lead. Sophomore Sydney Cavanaugh (Mansfield/St. Peter) collected a Smith miss and she put it back up and in while getting fouled before hitting the ensuing free throw as Bluffton took a 33-29 lead at the break.

The Beavers pushed their lead to 38-31 with 7:46 to play in quarter three, but Heidelberg used an 11-5 spurt over the final 5:27 to set the stage for Bluffton's fourth-quarter heroics.

Gillig hit 11-of-12 from the line en route to her first double-double of the season. She led everyone with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Henry hit the career-high trifecta with 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists! Smith finished with nine points and seven rebounds, while Saltzman ripped down seven boards as well.

Bluffton dominated with a 57-39 advantage on the glass. The Beavers also turned it over seven more times (17-10). The visitors hit just 17-of-58 (29.3 percent) from the field, but they made up for it with a sterling 25-of-29 performance at the line (86.2 percent). Bluffton limited Heidelberg to a paltry 19-of-70 (27.1 percent) shooting night.

The Beavers are off for Thanksgiving and they will be back at home when they welcome Ohio Wesleyan for a 6 p.m. tip on Wednesday, Dec. 1, as part of a unique doubleheader that includes an 8 p.m. men's contest with Kalamazoo.