LEXINGTON, Ky. – Transylvania made Senior Day a happy one Saturday, rallying for a 76-67 win over Bluffton in Heartland Conference women's basketball action at the Beck Center.
Transy, which had already clinched the HCAC regular season championship, is 20-5, 16-2 in conference play. Bluffton, which was playing for a spot in the HCAC tourney next week, instead falls to 12-13, 7-11 HCAC.
The Pioneers reached the 20-win plateau for the third time in head coach Greg Todd's seven-year career. The 16 HCAC wins are a school record, besting the 14-2 mark set in 2009.
Transy will carry the top seed into next weekend's HCAC Tournament at the Beck Center. The Pioneers will take on the winner of the Manchester-Defiance match on Saturday at 3 p.m. No. 2 seed Franklin will face Rose-Hulman or Hanover at 5 p.m. with the championship match set for Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Pioneers, playing in their regular-season finale, honored seniors Terra Lucas and Brooke Colliver prior to tip-off.
Transy spotted Bluffton a 10-0 lead to open the game and trailed by as many as 11 points, 32-21, at the 6:12 mark. But an 18-5 run gave the Pioneers a 39-37 edge at the break.
Nicole Coffman had 17 points to pace the Pioneers in the half and Katelyn Smith added 14, including nine of 10 from the free throw line. Transy was 16 of 18 overall from the stripe, compared to three of four for Bluffton. The Beavers were led by Brooke Ruffer, who had 10 first-half points.
Coffman finished with 26 points while Smith had 14. Madisen Webb contributed 14 points and five assists.Alex McKenzie came off the bench to tally 10 points and eight rebounds.
Transy dominated the game at the free throw line, finishing with 33 of 39 while Bluffton was 15 of 18. The visitors actually outshot Transy, 38 percent to 36 percent. Both teams had 35 rebounds.
Transy led by as many as 14 points in the second half although Bluffton crept within six with 48 seconds to play. McKenzie and Elizabeth Thomas combined to hit four free throws down the stretch.
Ruffer finished with 18 points and six rebounds while Kaitlyn Pennekamp notched 16 points.
The HCAC tourney championship game will be played Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Beck Center. The winner gets the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. Transy last made the NCAA field in 2008-09.
Transy women top Bluffton on Senior Day, gain 20th win