Fast start sends Panthers to season-opening victory

Claire Cromer drives to the rim

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women's basketball team got off to fast start and never looked back en route to an 83-39 season-opening victory over Spalding (Ky.) Wednesday evening, inside Collier Arena.

The Panthers (1-0) scored the game's first nine points over the opening four minutes and eventually took at 27-7 lead after the first quarter of play. Hanover made 10 of its 20 field goal attempts, while forcing the Golden Eagles (0-1) into a 2-for-14 shooting performance and nine turnovers over the first 10 minutes.

Overall, the Blue and Red finished with a .462 shooting percentage, while holding Spalding to a .241 shooting clip. Hanover also forced a total of 27 turnovers, resulting in 25 points.

Junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the opening period, making four-of-six attempts over the first 10 minutes of action. Cromer's 19 points fell one short of tying a career high. The junior was also second on the team with five assists.

The Panthers led by as many as 29 in the first half, 49-20, as a jumper from junior Morgan Bivins (Bloomington, Ind.) capped a 10-3 scoring spurt for HC. Bivins was one of four Panthers to record at least five points off the bench as the Blue and Red enjoyed a 29-17 advantage in bench points.

Hanover never saw its lead shrink below 25 points in the second half, and a pair of free throws from sophomore Elizabeth Lee (Brownstown, Ind.) in the fourth quarter gave them their largest lead of the contest, 47 points, at 83-36. Lee finished with five off the bench after making her only field goal attempt from behind the arc.

Sophomore Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) posted 17 points, with 14 coming during the second and third quarters. Motter also recorded a team high seven rebounds.

The Blue and Red tallied 20-7 and 12-6 advantages in assists and steals respectively, as sophomore Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) engineered both statistical categories for HC. Todd tied a career high with seven assists, something she did twice in her freshman campaign, while also adding four steals defensively.

Hanover finished with a balanced attack offensively, as nine different players tallied at least five points, including all five starters. Senior Allison Nash (Speedway, Ind.) and sophomore Haley Huddleston (Henryville, Ind.) combined for 15 points to lead the bench scoring.

The Panthers will look to continue their formidable form this weekend, when they travel to compete in a pair of neutral site contests at the Wooster (Ohio) Nan Nichols Classic. Hanover opens tournament play at 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 18, against Baldwin Wallace (Ohio).

Contact: Tyler Jester