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Bluffton women dominate Manchester, 71-44

The Bluffton University women's basketball team held Manchester to 15 points in the first half en route to a dominating 71-44 victory on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. Bluffton improved to 10-5 overall and 5-3 in the Heartland Conference thanks to eight wins in its last nine games. Manchester fell to 6-7 and 3-3 in the HCAC.

A 7-0 run to open the game, capped by a smooth three-ball from freshman Kayla Prigge (Hamler/Patrick Henry) forced Manchester Head Coach Josh Dzurick to burn his first timeout less than three minutes into the game. The Spartans responded with five straight points, but a Morgan Smith (Forest/Arlington) triple, her first of the season, put Bluffton up 14-5 at the 4:02 mark. HCAC Player of the Week Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) scored four quick points and Ella Zaborowski (Toledo/Christian) got to the rack as Bluffton led 20-9 after period one.

Bluffton's lead Mushroomed to 33-11 midway through the second quarter as the Beavers scored eight points in just over a minute. Gillig hit twice in the spurt, leading to another Manchester stoppage before they could get to the under five media timeout. Smith scored with 1:48 to play in the half and Bluffton took a healthy 35-15 lead at the break.

The third quarter was more of the same with the home team taking a 56-26 lead into the final stanza when Zaborowski hit with six seconds on the clock. Bluffton rolled to a 21-11 edge in the third period.

A Prigge triple with 7:20 to play gave the Beavers an insurmountable 61-30 lead and it started the steady flow of subs coming to the table as time ticked away. Tamron Brinkman (Dayton/East Dayton Christian) got into the scoring action and fellow freshman Hannah Plesac (Galion/Colonel Crawford) drained her first collegiate triple from straightaway, capping the scoring in Bluffton's 71-44 victory over Sparty.

Gillig hit 6-of-8 from the field for a game-high 14 points. Smith and Prigge followed with 13 and 11, respectively. Prigge was 3-of-5 from deep, pulled down five rebounds and dished out four assists. Smith and Gillig led the way with eight and seven boards, respectively. Olivia Zender (Fostoria/Hopewell-Louden) doled out a career-high six dimes in her first collegiate start. Gillig chipped in with four assists and she also picked up two steals.

Bluffton hit a blistering 30-of-56 (53.6 percent) from the field, while limiting Manchester to an anemic 13-for-61 (21.7 percent), including just 1-of-13 (7.7 percent) on triples. Bluffton doubled up Manchester on the glass (51-25), but the Beavers turned it over 12 more times (20-8).

The Beavers tip off a Sommer Center double feature when they welcome Hanover College on Saturday, Jan. 22 for a 2 p.m. start.


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