NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Led by senior guard Justine Kruger's 11 points, Manchester University kept Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference leader and D3Hoops.com No. 25/Women's Basketball Coaches Association No.23-ranked Bluffton University in its sights throughout a close-knit first half Wednesday, Feb. 3.
Despite tallying only seven points in each of the first two frames, MU found itself trailing the Beavers only 18-14 with just 2:40 to go in the first half. At that point, BU reeled off nine straight points, thanks in large part to back-to-back possessions with three-pointers, to extend the margin to 27-14 at halftime and move on to a 59-41 win.
The Spartans, falling to 6-14 overall and 4-9 in the conference, were topped by the Francesville, Ind., native's double-figure scoring night to go with five rebounds, an assist and two steals. Sophomore forward Samantha Bolen (Greenwood, Ind.) nearly added her name to the double-digit points list, tallying nine points which added to six rebounds and two assists.
Manchester University continues league play embarking on a southern journey to Hanover College's Collier Arena. Tipoff time is 3 p.m.
NOTES: Kruger's double-figure finish was her seventh of the season … Sophomore guard Madi Asbell (Greencastle, Ind.) got the Stauffer-Wolfe cheering in the late stages, registering her first collegiate points with a three-point bucket in the final minute … The Black and Gold, in a tie with Hanover for seventh, remain just a game out of the conference's top six going into the weekend.