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Bluffton women outpace Hanover 77-68

The Bluffton University women's basketball team continued its hot run with a 77-68 win over Hanover College on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. Bluffton moved to 11-5 overall and 6-3 in the Heartland Conference with its ninth win in the past 10 games, while Hanover fell to 7-7 and 4-5 in the HCAC.

In a game of wild spurts it was a 15-2 Bluffton run to open the fourth quarter that did Hanover in on Saturday. Kayla Prigge (Hamler/Patrick Henry) opened the fourth with a trifecta and Morgan Smith (Arlington) followed with four straight counters. Prigge drilled another three and Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) hit four straight freebies as Bluffton opened a 71-58 lead at the 4:53 mark. The Panthers pulled within seven, but Gillig and Smith hit from in close and Maddie Fitzpatrick (Mount Gilead) capped the 77-68 victory with two makes from the stripe.

Bluffton dug an 18-10 deficit midway through the first period, but battled back to take a 19-18 lead thanks to a Peyton Henry (Leipsic) make from outside the arc and layin by Gillig at the 3:07 mark. Hanover responded with a 10-1 run over the final 2:43 as the Panthers led 28-20 after one frame.

The home team used a huge second quarter advantage (22-10) to take a 42-38 lead at the break. Gillig netted eight markers, while Smith and Prigge added six points apiece in period two.

After two Smith makes from the line gave Bluffton a 53-46 lead with 3:11 to play in the third quarter, the Panthers rattled off nine quick points. However, Prigge converted a fast break layup and Fitzpatrick split two free throws as the teams went to period four knotted at 56 apiece.

Smith canned 9-of-14 from the field for a career-high 24 points. Gillig and Prigge followed with 18 and 15, respectively, as Bluffton's three-headed monster put up 57 points! Angel Schneider (Columbus Grove) just missed double figures with nine markers. Smith chalked up her third double-double with a career-high 12 boards. Gillig just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Henry doled out a career-high seven dimes, while Prigge and Fitzpatrick dished out five and four assists, respectively. Prigge stuffed Hanover with a career-high four blocks.

Bluffton pulled down 10 more rebounds (47-37), but the Beavers also turned it over four more times (14-10). The home team hit 26-of-61 (42.6 percent) from the field and 22-for-26 (84.6 percent) at the line. Hanover struggled to a 28-of-73 (38.4 percent) shooting afternoon.

The Beavers are back in the Sommer Center on Wednesday, Jan. 26, when they welcome Anderson for a crucial Heartland Conference battle. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.

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