Women's basketball set for Community Day showdown with Bluffton

Team huddle before game

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HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women's basketball team will look to stay unbeaten in HCAC play this weekend as they welcome Bluffton for Community Day.

The Panthers and Beavers are slated to tip off a home doubleheader for the Hanover basketball programs at 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9.

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COMMUNITY DAY: In association with the City of Madison, Ind., Hanover will be hosting its second annual Community Day Saturday, with no admission fee. In lieu of admission however, the Salvation Army will be in attendance collecting donations. For a complete line-up for Community Day events, visit http://bit.ly/2zU4MtF.

THE TEAMS: The Panthers are 5-2 overall for the first time in three seasons and will be looking for their first 3-0 start to conference play since the 2010-11 campaign. Hanover is second in the HCAC in points per game, 70.9, while also possessing one of the top defensive units in the conference, allowing just over 60 points per contest. The Blue and Red will look to stay unbeaten at home Saturday, as they are currently 3-0 inside Collier Arena in 2017-18.

Bluffton brings a three-game winning streak into Saturday, and is coming off an 84-56 rout of Earlham in its conference opener this past Wednesday. The Beavers are averaging a conference-best 75.0 points per game, and are led by Kaycee Rowe, who is leading three players in double figures at 17.6 points per contest.

THE COACHES: A familiar face will don the sidelines for the Panthers in 2017-18, as John Jones is in his third season as the head coach and 15th season overall with the Hanover women's basketball program. Jones' 2016-17 team saw a four-game improvement overall and won six more HCAC games than in his opening campaign at the helm in 15-16. Overall, Jones is 27-31 as the head coach of the Panthers.  

Bluffton also has a familiar face on the bench, as Chad Shutler is in his 13th season with the Beavers. Shutler is the Bluffton women's basketball program's all-time winningest coach, as he currently has 155 victories. The Beavers have also posted the top three winningest seasons in program history under Shutler, including back-to-back 20 win years in 15-16 and 16-17.

LAST TIME OUT: A fast start and a strong finish helped guide the Panthers to a 75-69 victory over visiting Transylvania this past Wednesday. Hanover scored 21 first quarter points and led 36-35 at halftime. After falling behind by five points, 47-42, three quarters in, HC outscored the Pioneers 23-12 in the final 10 minutes of play.

Sophomore Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) posted a season high 22 points on 10-of-19 shooting, while junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) added 15 points, shooting 5-for-6 from the field. Sophomore Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) grabbed 14 rebounds, giving her 10 or more boards in three of the last four games. Motter added eight points as well.

UP NEXT: Hanover will cap its pre-New Year conference slate by traveling to face Defiance at 1 p.m., next Saturday, Dec. 16. The Panthers will then compete in a post-Christmas Tournament at Wittenberg, which will feature an opening round game against No. 15/16 Ohio Northern.

Contact: Tyler Jester

jestert@hanover.edu