HANOVER, Ind. - Playing at home for the first time since December 9, the Hanover women's basketball team earned a hard-fought 99-90 double-overtime win over Mount St. Joseph Wednesday evening in Collier Arena.
The victory marks the first overtime win by the Panthers since an 88-77 win at Defiance January 25, 2014, and is their third overtime win in the last five games to go extra periods.
Hanover led 72-67 following junior Avery Chezem's (Loogootee, Ind.) lay-up with 1:48 left in regulation, but the Lions answered with a jumper, got a steal, and knocked down a three-pointer to tie the game at 72 apiece. A Panther turnover gave the ball back to Mount St. Joseph, but after taking a time out with five seconds on the clock, the Lions were unable to get a shot off and the game went to overtime.
Two three-pointers sandwiched around sophomore Alexis Nall's (Mount Vernon, Ind.) lay-up gave Mount St. Joseph a 78-74 lead in the first overtime, but senior Allison Nash (Speedway) hit a jumper, and sophomore Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) made a lay-up to knot the game at 78-78.
The next five baskets alternated between the two teams with the Lions making the last one for an 84-82 advantage. With 16 seconds remaining sophomore Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) was fouled and sank a pair of free throws to tie the game at 84 all. Once again, Mount St. Joseph had the ball at the end of the period with an opportunity to win, but a jumper with three seconds left wouldn't go down, and the game would continue.
Nash opened the second overtime with a lay-up, and Nall followed a Lion free throw with a pair of lay-ups and the Blue and Red grabbed a 90-87 lead. Junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) added a lay-up and followed a pair of Nall free throws with two of her own to give Hanover a 96-87 lead.
Mount St. Joseph could only muster a free throw and a lay-up in the final 3:31 of the game as the Lions made only one of their final five shots and committed three turnovers to lose by nine points.
Five different Panthers finished in double figures, which marks the first time that has happened since a 93-71 win against Earlham February 11 of last year. Nall, who came off the bench for the first time this year after missing the last two games, posted her second double-double of the season with team highs in points (18) and rebounds (11). Motter also had a double-double, her sixth of the year. She scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Cromer had a solid all-around game with 17 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Sophomore Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) notched her second highest scoring output of the year with 15 points off the bench, while Nash added 14 points and seven rebounds in her third straight start.
Both teams got off to fast starts as they combined to score 53 first quarter points. In six minutes Hartman scored 11 points on a pair of three-pointers and five free throws, but Hanover trailed by one at 27-26.
Things slowed down considerably in the second quarter with only 26 total points scored. The Lions would lead by seven points at the 5:47 mark only to see that lead shrink to three at 41-38 at halftime.
A 9-2 run to open the second half put the Panthers ahead 49-43. Mount St. Joseph cut the deficit to one three different times over the next 1:48, but the Blue and Red closed the quarter with another 9-2 run to go in front 62-54.
After hitting a three-pointer at the end of the third quarter, Cromer added another to start the fourth to give Hanover its largest lead of the game at 65-54. An 11-1 run by the Lions got them within one at 66-65 before Cromer added her third three-pointer of the night to give the Panthers a five-point lead. The fourth quarter proved to be the lowest offensive output of any quarter for the Panthers as they only made three of their 11 field goal attempts for 10 points.
The game featured eight ties and 13 lead changes as both teams finished with 33 made field goals apiece. The 99 points are a season-high by Hanover, and the second time the Blue and Red has score 90 or more points in a game this year. The Panthers out-rebounded Mount St. Joseph by 17 on the night with a season-high 54 rebounds, and also tied a season-best with 26 made free throws.
Hanover will look for its fifth straight win Saturday, Jan. 20 at home against Franklin. The contest will follow the men's game and is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. in Collier Arena.
Contact: Mike Pritchard