Fast start propels Panthers to 81-62 win at Manchester

Claire Cromer follows through on shot

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Hanover women's basketball team out-scored Manchester 23-9 in the first quarter and never looked back en route to an 81-62 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference road win Saturday afternoon.

Hanover, which has not played at home in almost a month, improves to 8-5 overall and 4-2 in the HCAC, while the Spartans fall for the tenth time and are now 3-10 overall and 2-4 in conference action. 

Junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) and sophomores Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) and Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) combined to score 21 of the teams' 23 first-quarter points. The Blue and Red made 10 of their 15 shots from the field and forced seven Manchester turnovers.

A three-pointer by junior Avery Chezem (Loogootee, Ind.) followed by a lay-up by sophomore Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) to open the second quarter pushed the lead to 28-9. The Spartans scored 10 of the next 15 points to cut the lead to 14 (33-19), but a 13-5 run by the Panthers stretched the lead to 46-24. Six of the final eight points of the opening half were scored by Manchester, but Hanover would still lead by 18 (48-30) at the break.

The Spartans out-scored the Panthers in the third quarter, but both teams struggled to shoot the ball. Of the 30 combined shots, only nine fell (30.0%). Nall made both of her attempts and also sank four free throws for eight of the team's 14 points as the Blue and Red held a 16-point lead after three quarters.

After falling behind by 20 again early in the fourth quarter, a free throw and a three-pointer got Manchester within 16 points, but the Spartans would get no closer and Hanover would finish with its sixth double-digit victory of the season. The game also marks the fourth time this season the Panthers have scored 80 or more points with all four ending in wins. 

Motter and Nall fell just shy of a double-double each. Motter had 19 points and nine rebounds and Nall tallied 19 points and eight rebounds, while also adding three steals. Cromer notched her second straight double-digit effort, and eighth overall this year, with 15 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists. 

Hanover will go back on the road for another pair of HCAC road contests this week. The Panthers will first play Earlham Wednesday, January 10. Start time is set for 7:30 p.m. in Richmond, Ind. 

Contact: Mike Pritchard