Motter guides Panthers past slow start in 66-59 win at Franklin

Maleha Motter drives to the basket

FRANKLIN, Ind. – Despite a slow start offensively, sophomore Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) and the rest of the Hanover women's basketball team rallied to earn a 66-59 victory at Franklin Saturday afternoon.

With the win, Hanover improves to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play. Franklin drops to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the HCAC after the loss.

Motter, who set a career high in rebounds last weekend, bested her single game total again Saturday, grabbing 17 boards. The sophomore also recorded 17 points, marking her second double-double in three games. She led the team with four steals as well.

Junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) scored 15 of her 16 points in the second half, making 7-of-11 free attempts over the final 20 minutes of play. Cromer was also one of four Panthers with multiple steals, as HC held a 14-6 edge in swipes.

Three players for HC scored eight points off the bench, including senior Allison Nash (Speedway, Ind.), junior Macy Walker (Indianapolis, Ind.) and sophomore Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.). Overall, Hanover held a 28-21 edge in bench points.

Leading by 11 heading into the fourth quarter it appeared as though HC was on its way to its fourth victory of the season, especially after a pair from Motter gave them a 14-point advantage, 53-39, with 8:40 remaining.

Franklin however, was able to pull within two points, 61-59, with 21 seconds left to play. After Cromer made 1-of-2 attempts from the charity stripe, the Grizzlies used the ensuing possession to go for the tie, but missed on two tries from behind the arc.

Cromer added a steal and four more free throws late to secure the 66-59 conference-opening win for HC.

Both sides recorded 41 rebounds in the contest and each team also tallied over 20 turnovers. The Blue and Red however, turned 22 Franklin giveaways into a 27-15 edge in points off turnovers.

The Panthers made just two free throws over the first 6:19 of the game and found themselves in a 9-2 hole on the scoreboard. Hanover however, finished the quarter on an 8-2 run, closing the deficit to 11-9.

The Blue and Red held strong for most of the second stanza, holding the Grizzlies to just .286 shooting, as they held their fourth halftime lead in six games this season, 29-22. Hanover shot 7-of-15 from the field in the second quarter, scoring at least 20 points in a period for the ninth time this season.

Still trailing with six minutes left in the second quarter, a three pointer from junior Avery Chezem (Loogootee, Ind.) ignited a 14-6 run to close the half.

With its lead cut to just six points, a quick 5-0 spurt from Cromer gave HC its largest lead of the contest at 11 points, 42-31. Hanover held an 11-point advantage at the conclusion of three quarters as well, 48-37.

Hanover will look to stay unbeaten in HCAC action next week, when they host Transylvania at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6.

Contact: Tyler Jester