NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – The Manchester University women’s basketball team played its final home game of the 2018-19 season on Wednesday night. The Spartans were defeated in a hard-fought, overtime battle by the visiting Bluffton Beavers 77-69.
Manchester rallied from an early hole and used a 14-6 run to close the first quarter to grab an early 19-16 lead after 10 minutes of play. MU opened the second quarter with five straight points, extending its advantage to 24-16 at the 8:52 mark. Macy Miller(Huntertown, Ind. / Carroll) gave Manchester its largest lead of 10 after sinking a jumper with 6:19 left to play before half. Bluffton went on s run of their own and outscored MU 13-3 the remainder of the period. Both teams were tied at 29 at the break.
Bluffton and Manchester traded baskets over the first three and a half minutes of the third period, with neither side gaining a sizable advantage. It was the Spartans, however, that put together a string of scores and stops; MU built a six-point lead, 44-38, with 3:16 left in the quarter. Manchester led 48-43 heading into the final period of action.
Midway through the final period Manchester once again built its lead to eight, 58-50, but Bluffton put together a late rally to close the gap. Bluffton’s Kylie Brock scored 17 of her game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter and led Bluffton’s fourth-quarter comeback. Brock scored five points in the last minute and Breanna Graham’s three-pointer with seven seconds left forced overtime
Bluffton outlasted the Spartans in overtime, scoring the first five points in the period. Manchester University was limited to just 1-of-8 shooting and six points over the final five minutes. Bluffton point guard TJ Mills scored 13 of her 21 points in overtime.
Nicole Weaver (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead) was the only Spartan in double figures, finishing with 14 points. Senior Beth Schaefer (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll) added seven points and nine boards.
Bluffton stayed in the hunt for an HCAC Tournament berth with the win on Wednesday night. BU improved to 9-15, 7-10 HCAC. The Spartans will conclude the 2018-19 season this Saturday February 16 at Rose-Hulman. Saturday’s game time is set for 2 p.m.