BLUFFTON, OHIO – A late rally wasn't enough as the Defiance College women's basketball team lost to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Bluffton Univeristy, 74-60.
Junior Kelsey Tietje (Deshler/Patrick Henry) led the Yellow Jackets with another career-tying high performance of 37 points (15-of-26 shooting) and grabbed a game-high 17 boards to notch her 13th double-double of the season. Junior Erica Smay (Defiance/Tinora) added nine points (four-of-13 shooting), while freshman Sam Ervin (Bloomdale/Elmwood) scored seven points (three-of-nine shooting). Sophomore Whitney Schalk (Bellevue) dished out a game-high 10 assists to go along with two points and one rebound.
Bluffton (20-2, 13-2 HCAC) put the first points on the board, but Defiance (6-16, 5-10 HCAC) forced a back-and-forth battle that ended with a layup from Tietje to bring the score to 6-4, at the 6:18 minute mark. Shortly after, the Beavers went on an 8-0 run to knock almost three minutes off the clock before Tietje connected on another layup to bring the Yellow Jackets to within six points, 14-8. The Beavers kept up the offense outscoring the Yellow Jackets, 10-7, in the final minutes to end the period with a 24-15 advantage.
In the second quarter, Defiance tried to chip away at the Bluffton lead with Ervin scoring the first points of the quarter on a free-throw to bring the score to 24-16. The remainder of the quarter was controlled by the Beavers who went on a 19-3 run to finish the half and boasted a demanding lead of 24 points, 43-19, heading into the locker rooms.
After the half, the Yellow Jackets started to climb out of the deficit and after alternating possessions, got to within 13 points after a basket from Tietje at the 4:39 minute mark, 45-32. The teams traded triples before the Beavers then finished the quarter on a 4-2 mini run to finish the third with a lead of 52-37.
The Yellow Jackets looked to make a comeback in the final quarter and put the pressure on the Beavers right away. After six minutes into the quarter and a 16-7 late rally DC narrowed the gap to seven points, 59-52. The next few minutes saw alternating action until the final minute of play. The last 1:19 on the clock saw the Beavers score their last eleven points from the free-throw line and outscored the Yellow Jackets, 11-4, to finalize the game in favor of Bluffton, 74-60, at the final buzzer.
Defiance will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 13 when they host Transylvania (Ky.) University in a HCAC matchup. The game will be part of a basketball doubleheader with the Yellow Jacket men's team. The women will tip-off against the Pioneers at 1 p.m., followed by the men at 3 p.m.