Balanced effort guides women's basketball past Franklin 70-56

Alexis Nall passing the ball

HANOVER, Ind. – For the second consecutive game, the Hanover women's basketball team had five players score in double figures, as they defeated Franklin Saturday afternoon, 70-56.

With the victory, the Panthers have won five straight to improve to 12-5 overall and 8-2 in HCAC play. The Grizzlies, who have now dropped seven of their last eight, fall to 4-12 overall and 3-7 in the conference.

The balanced offensive effort was led by a trio of sophomores, Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.), Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) and Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.), all of which tallied 13 or more points. Nall and Hartman each posted 14 points, while Nall's 10 rebounds marked her second straight double-double. Hartman was 5-of-7 from the field and added three rebounds and three assists.

Motter posted her second straight double-double and her third one in the past four games. She finished with 13 points and a career high 18 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass. The sophomore has now logged 15 or more boards in four games this season.

Junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) scored 10 of her 11 points in the first half, while also filling the final stat sheet with a team high five assists, four steals and three rebounds. Cromer tied a career high in helpers, as she has now posted five assists on seven occasions in her collegiate career. Classmate Avery Chezem (Loogootee, Ind.) tallied eight of her 10 points in the opening half, as she added five rebounds and multiple steals.

Hanover forced 15 Franklin giveaways Saturday, logging 11 steals and an 18-6 edge in points off turnovers. The Blue and Red also held a 42-22 advantage in points in the paint.

Despite a cold shooting first quarter, the Panthers rallied to go 50 percent over the next two periods, finishing the game with a .418 shooting clip. Hanover also held FC to a .256 field goal percentage for the game, the second lowest by a HC opponent this season. With the bevy of misses, the two sides combined to record 102 rebounds.

The Panthers opened the contest on a 9-3 run, capped by a layup from Chezem at the 5:42 mark of the opening period. The Blue and Red never trailed in the quarter, pushing its lead to 17-12 after 10 minutes.

Hanover proceeded to open the second quarter on a 13-0 spurt, holding the Grizzlies scoreless over the first 4:16 to take a 30-12 advantage. Franklin however, was able to claw back to 12 points by the intermission, trailing HC 38-26.

With neither side separating themselves early on in the third quarter, Hanover took advantage of eight straight points over 1:17 span to extend its lead to 50-31 with 6:13 left in the period. The Panthers led by as many as 20 points in the quarter, before closing the frame up 59-41.

The two teams traded baskets for most of the final period, as HC was able to push its lead back up to 20 points, while the closest FC would get was 14.

After dropping the final two contests to the Grizzlies last season, Hanover has now won each of the past two meetings with FC, winning back-to-back games in the series for the first time since 2014.

The Panthers will look to extend their season-long winning streak when they head back on the road next Wednesday, Jan. 24. Two of the hottest teams in the HCAC, Hanover and Transylvania, are slated for a 7:30 p.m. tip.

Contact: Tyler Jester