HANOVER, Ind. - After having its five-game winning streak snapped earlier in the week, the Hanover women's basketball team will look to get back in the win column with a trip to Bluffton, Ohio to play Bluffton Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers (12-6, 8-3 HCAC) and the Beavers will meet for the second time this season Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. in the Sommer Center.
THE TEAMS: Hanover will enter the weekend's contest in a tie for third place in the HCAC, just one game back of Transylvania for second with seven league games to play. With its next win, the Panthers will match their win total from last year and pull within two wins of matching their 11 conference wins from a year ago.
Prior to Wednesday's game against Transylvania, the Blue and Red had averaged 83.0 points, while allowing only 65.4 points per game during their five game winning streak. Through 18 games, Hanover leads the HCAC in scoring and is the only team to average 70 or more points at 73.5 per contest. They also rank among the top three in the league in field goal percentage (2nd, 42.1%), rebounds (3rd, 40.1 rpg) and assists (3rd, 14.3 apg).
Of the team's 18 contests, the Panthers have played 10 away from Collier Arena, inculding seven of the 11 HCAC contests already. Their overall record on the road stands at 6-4, while Hanover has posted a 5-2 mark in conference road games.
Bluffton (13-5, 8-3) will also enter Saturday's match-up in a tie for third place in the HCAC. The Beavers have split their last four games with losses at Rose-Hulman (64-40) and Transylvania (73-59), and wins at Manchester (62-59) and at home against Earlham (58-39) earlier this week.
Averaging 68.8 points per game, Bluffton is second behind the Panthers in scoring offense in the league and ranks third in scoring defense allowing 60.2 points per game. The Beavers are 7-2 overall at home and have won four of their five HCAC games at the Sommer Center. Sophomores Kaycee Rowe and Macey Sheerer lead the team in both scoring and rebounding. Rowe is averaging 15.0 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, both good for second in the league, while Sheerer has posted 14.6 points and 6.9 boards per contest.
THE SERIES: Hanover has a 13-7 edge in the last 20 games of the series, but Bluffton has had the upper hand recently winning the last five meetings between the two schools. The Panthers last win came during the 2014-15 season when they swept a pair of games 84-81 at home and 96-86 in Ohio. In the last nine games at Bluffton, Hanover has a slight 5-4 edge. The Beavers won last year's contest at the Sommer Center 83-68 and also defeated the Panthers 83-65 in Collier Arena back on December 9 of this season.
LAST TIME OUT: The team's five game winning streak came to an end in a 69-59 loss to Transylvania in Lexington, Ky. Wednesday evening. Hanover out-scored the Pioneers 35-28 in the second half, but it wasn't enough to overcome a slow start in which the Panthers managed only 24 first-half points.
Sophomore Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) had another double-double, her eighth of the season. Her 15 points, 15 rebounds and three steals were all team highs. Sophomore Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) scored 14 points and tallied four rebounds and a pair of steals, while junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) had a well-rounded effort with 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
UP NEXT: The Panthers will return home for the first of four straight home contests. They will open the home-stand against Rose-Hulman Wednesday, Jan. 31. The HCAC contest will complete the season series and is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Collier Arena.
Contact: Mike Pritchard