WOOSTER, Ohio - Sophomore Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) had one of the best days of her young career, but it wasn't enough as the Hanover women's basketball team dropped its first game of the season in an 87-77 loss to Baldwin Wallace (Ohio) on day one of the Nan Nichols Classic hosted by the College of Wooster (Ohio).
The contest was the second of the year for both teams. The loss drops Hanover to 1-1 overall, while the Yellow Jackets improve to 2-0 in the early going.
Only one point separated the two teams after the first quarter of play. While the Panthers only made 6 of 23 shots (26.1%) in the opening period, they did force nine Yellow Jacket turnovers to only trail 22-21 entering the second 10 minutes of the game.
The second quarter started slowly as neither team scored until almost two and a half minutes into the period. Leading 26-25, Baldwin Wallace scored nine unanswered points to go in front 34-25. A three-pointer later with 1:42 remaining in the opening half made it an 11-point game but the Panthers would score four of the final six points to make it a 42-33 score at the break.
After the Yellow Jackets made a lay-up to open the second half, Hanover scored the next six points to pull within 44-39. Baldwin Wallace hit back-to-back three-pointers to push the lead back to 11 at 50-39, but junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) hit a pair of free throws and a three-pointer to cut the deficit to six points.
A free throw made it 51-44, but sophomore Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) made two free throws and senior Allison Nash (Speedway, Ind.) hit three consecutive lay-ups to give the Panthers their first lead since the first quarter at 52-51 at the 1:52 mark in the third quarter. Sophomore Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) then added a jumper to push the lead to 54-51, only to see Baldwin Wallace score the final eight points of the quarter for a five-point lead (59-54) after three quarters of play.
Hartman hit a three-pointer to open the fourth quarter and followed a Yellow Jacket three-pointer with a jumper. A Cromer free throw and a made basket and free throw by Motter put Hanover back in front 63-62.
Down 67-64, the Yellow Jackets scored the next five points to regain the lead at 69-67, but a pair of Nash free throws tied the game at 69 all.
Baldwin Wallace responded with a 14-4 run over the next 3:13 to take control and lead 83-73 with just over a minute to go.
The Panthers scored the next four points to cut the lead to 83-77, but the Yellow Jackets would make all four free-throw attempts to finish the game with the 10-point win.
Hanover shot 33.8% (23-68) on the day, while Baldwin Wallace ended the contest at 52.4% (33-63). The Panthers were out-rebounded 49-33, but did force 16 more turnovers (31-15).
Four different players finished in double figures for Hanover led by Hartman who finished with a career-high 23 points on eight of 14 shooting, including three of five from beyond the three-point arc, and four of four from the charity stripe. She also added a career-best five steals to go along with four rebounds, two assists and a block, all off the bench.
Nall scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds. Cromer had her second double-figure scoring effort in as many games with 13 points, four steals and three assists, and Motter added 11 points and a team best eight rebounds.
Hanover will be back in action Sunday, Nov. 19 for day two of the Classic against Alma (Mich.). Tip-off is set for 1:00 p.m. in Timken Gymnasium.
Contact: Mike Pritchard