Franklin women stumble at Bluffton

The Franklin College women’s basketball team lost 67-61 on Saturday at Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Bluffton.

Franklin (11-9, 9-5 HCAC) took a 12-9 lead on a jumper by freshman Kelsey Smith with 11:35 left in the first half. Later, a three-point field goal by Smith gave the Grizzlies an 18-15 advantage at the 7:22 mark.

Bluffton (14-7, 9-5 HCAC) scored the final six points of the first half for a four-point lead, 33-29, at halftime.

The Beavers took a 61-52 lead after a pair of free throws by Macey Sheerer with 4:54 remaining.

Franklin got five quick points on its next two possessions to trim the margin to 61-57. Two free throws by sophomore Sarah Taylor and a three-pointer from sophomore Kayle Comer cut Bluffton’s lead to four points.

The Grizzlies got within two, 63-61, with 1:38 left following two free throws by sophomore Lauren DeSutter.

Bluffton missed a three-point field goal on its next possession. However, the Grizzlies missed a go-ahead three pointer with 58 seconds left. The Beavers split a pair of free throws to take a 64-61 lead with 45 seconds remaining.

Franklin missed two shots on the following trip and Bluffton made three free throws to secure the victory.

Comer led Franklin with 14 points and made four three-point field goals. Junior Katie Brewer added nine points. Senior Nichole Thompson and sophomore Mandy Fisher each scored seven points.

Bluffton’s Taylor Whitaker scored a game-high 19 points and Sheerer chipped in 14 points.

The game began a three-game HCAC road swing for the Grizzlies.

Franklin returns to action on Wednesday at Transylvania.