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Rested Bluffton women earn 62-50 victory at Earlham

The Bluffton University women's basketball team shook off the rust and parlayed a 20-4 first quarter into a convincing 62-50 victory at Earlham College on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. Bluffton improved to 8-5 overall and 3-3 in the Heartland Conference, while the Quakers remain winless at 0-11 and 0-4 in the HCAC.

Bluffton was chomping at the bit after the Saturday women's game with Rose-Hulman never materialized. Although it took the Beavers over two minutes to crack the scoreboard, they rolled off 20 points before the first quarter horn sounded as the visitors led 20-4 after 10 minutes. The score was 2-2 with 4:55 to play in the opening stanza when junior Peyton Henry (Leipsic) dialed up a triple for a 5-2 Bluffton lead. Ella Zaborowski (Toledo/Toledo Christian) made it 10-2 with her trifecta before Henry and Olivia Zender (Fostoria/Hopewell-Louden) cashed in from deep late in period one as the Beavers scored 18 points in the last half of the first quarter.

Both teams struggled to put up any offense in the second quarter, but Henry uncorked another triple with 1:26 left in the half and Anne Mendenhall (Van Wert/Lincolnview) got to the rack for a 35-17 lead at the break.

Back-to-back Kayla Prigge (Hamler/Patrick Henry) bombs in a span of just 31 seconds midway through the third period broke up another scoring drought en route to a commanding 50-29 spread heading to the final stanza.

Junior Sammy Shardo (Findlay/Liberty-Benton) hit from deep coming out of a Bluffton timeout and freshman Lindsey Smith (Mount Victory/Kenton) dropped a deuce as the Beavers capped off their 62-50 victory over former Bluffton assistant Shanna Thompson's Quaker crew.

Henry hit 3-of-5 from beyond the arc for a career-high 11 points. Senior Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) notched her 20th career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Gillig's 1,186 points moved her to 4th all-time as she passed Kaycee Rowe (1,178) on Wednesday night. Prigge also tallied 10 counters at Earlham. Henry stuffed the stat sheet with five rebounds and four assists. Zaborowski doled out a career-high six dimes. Prigge led the visitors with three steals.

Bluffton struggled to a 21-of-67 shooting night (31.3 percent), but the Beavers were an efficient 8-for-20 (40 percent) on triples. Earlham was an ice-cold 6-of-38 (15.8 percent) outside the arc. The visitors ripped down 17 more rebounds (51-34) and the Beavers pounded the offensive glass with 18 boards.

Bluffton travels to Franklin College for a 2 p.m. meeting with the Grizzlies on Saturday, Jan. 15.