HANOVER, Ind. – Riding a season-long four-game winning streak, the Hanover women's basketball team will welcome Franklin for a HCAC contest this weekend.
The Panthers (11-5, 7-2 HCAC) and Grizzlies will cap off a men's-women's home doubleheader for HC, as they are scheduled to tip off at approximately 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 20.
THE TEAMS: Hanover is currently experiencing its longest winning streak under head coach John Jones, and have also tied the most wins in a single month, four, since Jones took over prior to the 15-16 season. At home this season, HC is 4-1, and are coming off a 99-90 double overtime victory over Mt. St. Joseph Wednesday evening.
As the second round of HCAC play starts, the Panthers find themselves in a three-way tie for second place in the standings and just two games back of Rose-Hulman for the top spot. The Blue and Red will have a good chance to surpass last season's conference win total, 11, as they have won seven of their first nine outings in this year.
With 79 or more points in each of the last four games, Hanover is now up to a conference-best 74.6 scoring average this season, which is also good enough for 33rd in NCAA Division III. Hanover is also playing its best defense under Jones, conceding 64.5 points per game.
Franklin (4-11, 3-6 HCAC) enters Saturday dropping six of their last seven overall, including a 70-49 decision at Transylvania this past Wednesday. In true road games this season, FC is 1-4, and have also dropped both of their neutral site contests for a 1-6 record away from the Spurlock Center.
Shooting just over 36 percent from the field, the Grizzlies are averaging 54.4 points per game in 2017-18. Despite a higher field goal percentage, the team's scoring average is down to 53.1 during HCAC play. Bayleigh Walker leads FC in scoring (14.5), rebounding (7.1) and blocked shots (0.3) per game.
THE SERIES: Since 2006, Franklin has won 17 of the 29 meetings, with the two sides splitting six games in the HCAC Tournament. During the span, Hanover is 5-8 at home and split a pair of contests inside Collier Arena last season. Earlier this year, HC prevailed on the road, 66-59.
LAST TIME OUT: In its longest game in over 10 seasons, Hanover outlasted Mt. St. Joseph in double overtime, 99-90. Posting its highest offensive total under Jones, the Panthers had five players score in double figures for the first time in nearly one year.
Sophomore Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) returned to action after missing the previous two games, coming off the bench to record a team high 18 points and 11 rebounds. Classmate Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) also posted a double-double, tallying 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Adding double-digit point efforts were junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.), 17, sophomore Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.), 15, and senior Allison Nash (Speedway, Ind.), 14. The five double-digit scorers for HC combined for nearly 80 percent of the team's offense Wednesday.
Hanover snapped a two-game losing streak in games going beyond regulation and have now won three of their last five overtime outings.
UP NEXT: The Panthers will be back on the road after a brief two-game home stand, as the team will travel to face Transylvania at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 24. Hanover won the first meeting back in December, 75-69, but will be in search of its first win at Transy since the 2012-13 season, when the Blue and Red won the HCAC Tournament championship, 83-66.
Contact: Tyler Jester