BLUFFTON, OHIO – The Defiance College Yellow Jackets dropped a 77-62 decision to the arch-rival Bluffton University Beavers in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference contest in Bluffton on Wednesday evening.
The Yellow Jackets were led by sophomore Danielle Carruthers (New London), who scored a career-high 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor to go along with six boards. Junior Lauren Rogers (Munger, Mich./Bay City Central) also finished the night with 16 points and five rebounds for DC.
The Beavers held a slight edge on the glass, winning the rebound battle, 41-36, while also committing five fewer turnovers than the Yellow Jackets (19-14).
The opening frame was a back-and-forth affair, seeing six lead changes. With the Beavers holding a 6-5 edge, a pair of free throws from Rogers and a layup for Carruthers saw DC grab three-point lead. Bluffton responded a couple of minutes later with a 7-0 run to give themselves a 15-11 lead at the 2:54 mark. A bucket from freshman Cassidy Yant (Churubusco, Ind.) cut the deficit to two points, but Bluffton would grow the lead to five by the end of the opening quarter.
Carruthers opened the second stanza with a pair of freebies to cut the Defiance lead to three points, 20-17, before the Beavers went on a 15-2 run to take a 35-19 lead at the 5:17 mark. Whitney Schalk (Bellevue) put a stop to that run with a triple to cut the deficit to 13 points. The lead grew to 15 points, 39-24, when a three-ball from Rogers and a lay-in from Carruthers made it a 10-point game. Bluffton got a jumper to end the half to make the score 41-29 at the break.
DC and Bluffton continued to trade baskets for most of the third quarter, as the Yellow Jackets could cut the lead to 10 points, but could not get over the hump to cut the deficit to single-digits. After a jumper from Carruthers with just under two minutes left made it a 10-point game, Bluffton finally pulled away with five straight points, making it 59-44 at the 1:14 mark of the quarter. Defiance scored the final three points of the quarter, wrapped up by another layup from Carruthers at the buzzer to make it a 59-47 game through three frames. The fourth quarter was much of the same, as Bluffton grew the lead as high as 20 points en route to the 77-62 victory.
Bluffton was led in scoring by sophomore point guard TJ Mills, who finished with 19 points while Kaycee Rowe added 17 points and 16 rebounds in the victory.
The Yellow Jackets return to their home court on Saturday, Jan. 10 for an HCAC matchup with the Mount St. Joseph University Lions. The matchup is set to tip at 1 p.m. at the Karl H. Weaner Center.