HANOVER, Ind. - Missing six players, including one starter, due to injury or sickness, the Hanover women's basketball team out-scored Transylvania (Ky.) 23-12 in the final quarter to win 75-69 in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference contest Wednesday evening in Collier Arena.
The victory marks the fourth win in the last five games for the Panthers as they improve to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the HCAC. The Pioneers, which were the pre-season favorite to win the league this year, fall to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
Hanover jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but a pair of Transylvania three-pointers tied the game at six apiece less than midway through the opening period. Sophomore Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) hit a lay-up to put the Panthers back in front 8-6 only to see the Pioneers score the next seven points to take a 13-8 lead.
Down five the Blue and Red answered with a run of their own as they made their final five shots from the floor, and both free throw attempts, to close the quarter on a 13-2 run for a 21-15 advantage. Of its 12 field goal attempts in the first 10 minutes, Hanover made nine for a sizzling 75.0% shooting percentage.
Transylvania scored the first four points of the second quarter to make it a two-point game, but junior Avery Chezem (Loogootee, Ind.) followed a Nall three-pointer to push the lead to seven with just under seven minutes to play in the first half.
The Panthers would lead the entire second quarter, but a pair of late lay-ups by the Pioneers, including one as time expired, cut the deficit to one at 36-35 at the break.
The second half opened with the two teams exchanging three-pointers on their opening possessions, followed by a two-point basket each as the Panthers maintained a one-point edge at 41-40.
Transylvania scored six of the next seven points to take a 46-42 lead at the 5:48 mark, but Nall and senior Julia Miller (Harstville, Ind.) followed with back-to-back lay-ups to tie the game at 46-46. Miller wasn't done. After a Pioneer lay-up, the senior hit her second shot in as many attempts and then followed a Transylvania three-pointer with another lay-up to keep it a one-point game.
Six of the final eight points in the quarter went to the Pioneers as they would take a five-point lead (57-52) into the final period.
Down 61-55 with 8:29 to play Hanover hit five of its next six shots to score 12 unanswered points and take the lead for good. Nall hit five of her six attempts, plus a free throw in the final quarter for 11 of her team-high 22 points as the Panthers would score 20 of the final 28 points of the game for the six-point victory. Transylvania would only score 12 points as a team in the fourth and make only five of its 23 shots, including 1 of 12 from beyond the three-point arc. In the final
The Blue and Red made only one more field goal, and three less three-pointers than the Pioneers, but made 12 of their 14 free throw attempts to only five of six by Transylvania. Hanover finished the game at 48.3% from the field (29-60) and five of 11 from long range (45.4%) while limiting the Pioneers to only 36.8% for the game.
Nall came up just two points shy of tying her career high, but set a season high with her 22 points. She made 10 of 19 attempts from the floor and also grabbed six rebounds. Junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) finished in double figures for the fifth time in seven tries this season. The third-year guard scored 15 points on five of six shooting and made all four of her free throw attempts.
Sophomore Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) had nine points, five rebounds, four assists and a steal. Fellow sophomore Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) fell two points shy of her third double-double of the year with eight points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Chezem had the best game of her first season in a Panther uniform. The junior posted season-highs with eight points and six assists to go along with a steal, while Miller made the most of her eight minutes of action with six points and three rebounds.
Up next is another HCAC home contest against Bluffton (Ohio) Saturday, Dec. 9. The game will be played as part of Hanover's Community Day and is set to begin at 2 p.m. in Collier Arena.
Contact: Mike Pritchard