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Transylvania wins conference title Saturday, will host Heartland Conference tournament


Transylvania women’s basketball claimed sole possession of the Heartland Conference season title Saturday, taking down the Bluffton Beavers 85-73 in the last regular-season matchup, remaining undefeated on the road for two years and locking in the No. 1 seed and host site of the conference tournament.

 

“I am very proud that our girls have played two straight years without a road loss,” said coach Greg Todd. “We knew on the road today we would have to play one of our best games of the year to beat a good Bluffton team.”

 

Sophomore Alex Botkin netted a season-high 22 points, going 9-for-13 from the floor, 4-of-4 from the free-throw line, while grabbing seven boards and four steals. She was followed by well-rounded scoring from five teammates in double figures, including sophomore Katelyn Smith (20), senior Madisen Webb (12), junior Nicole Coffman (11), junior Alex McKenzie (10) and freshman Jordin Fender (10).

 

“We had a balanced scoring attack today,” said Todd. “I felt we played very unselfish as a team.”

 

Unselfishness abounded, as the team racked up 22 assists, second highest this season, led by point guard Webb with seven. Though the shots weren’t following from behind the arc, the Pioneers dominated down low, netting 56 of their 85 points in the paint.

 

The Pioneers’ aggressive play would be evident in the opening minutes, as a steal by Botkin 45 seconds into the contest resulted in a layup for the first points on the board. Within four minutes, Transylvania would open with a 10-2 run over the Beavers, solidifying an early eight-point cushion.

 

Bluffton would challenge on two separate occasions, finally gaining a foothold at the 5-minute mark on two free-throws by Bluffton’s Taylor Whitaker, tying the game at 36-36. A fast-break layup by McKenzie and pair of foul shots from Smith would give Transylvania a fragile four-point advantage, but not for long.

 

The Beavers responded with a long three-pointer, followed by a layup to give Bluffton the first lead of the game. It would be Webb down the stretch that gave the Pioneers the extra push, netting two-straight layups in the paint to send the Pioneers to the locker room with a one-point lead, 46-45.

 

Transylvania took no time out of the half returning to their typical form, going on a quick 6-0 run to push the lead to seven, 52-45. By the 13-minute mark, Bluffton had surged back to tie the game at 57 all thanks to six-straight points, but the momentum wouldn’t last.

 

The Pioneers refused to be rattled, steadily increasing the lead over the course of the next six minutes, pushing the lead to a 13-point margin with seven minutes remaining in the contest. Transylvania’s lead would dwindle only to six before they were able to handily maintain a double-figure cushion. With 2:34 on the clock, Transylvania had increased the lead to 16 points, 85-69, the largest of the matchup.

 

Despite a last-minute layup, the Beavers couldn’t rally, giving Transylvania the 85-73 victory.

 

Transylvania will host the 2014 Women’s Basketball Heartland Conference Tournament Feb. 28-March 2.

 

The first round will be Feb. 28 featuring No.5 Manchester and No.4 Bluffton at 6 p.m. and No.6 Rose-Hulman and No. 3 Franklin at 8 p.m. Saturday, the Pioneers will face the winner of No.4/5 at 3 p.m. and No.3 Hanover will face the winner of No.3/6 at 5 p.m.. The tournament championship will be Sunday at 2 p.m.

 

More information on the conference tournament can be found at the 2014 HCAC Women’s Basketball Tournament website.

 

From Transylvania Athletics.


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