HANOVER, Ind. – With four games remaining in the regular season, the Hanover women's basketball team will look to secure its spot in the HCAC Tournament and improve its positioning when they host Earlham for a mid-week meeting.
Hanover (13-8, 9-5 HCAC) welcomes previous Panther standout Shauna Watson ('15) and the Earlham Quakers for a 7:30 p.m. tip, Wednesday, Feb. 7.
THE TEAMS: After dropping its final three outings in January, the Panthers returned to their winning ways last Saturday, defeating Anderson 88-67 for their sixth win in the last nine games. Hanover has matched its overall win total from last year and is just two wins shy of matching their 11 conference victories in 2016-17.
Prior to the three-game setback, all of which came to the top three teams in the HCAC standings, Hanover had won five straight, while averaging 83.0 points per contest and giving up just over 65 points per game. For the season, HC is the only conference team to average more than 70 points per game, 72.8, which is also among the top 50 in the country.
In eight home games this season, the Blue and Red have produced a 6-2 overall record and 4-2 mark in conference action. The Panthers' top three scorers this season have been even better at home this year, as junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) and sophomores Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) and Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) are combining for over 40 points per game inside Collier Arena. As a team, HC is scoring 74.6 points per outing, five more than their average on the road.
After a slow start to the season, Earlham has won four of their last six, improving to 5-16 overall and 5-9 in the HCAC, as they are currently in the mix for one of the final spots in the conference tournament. Unfortunately for EC, the team is just 2-10 in games away from the Druley Performance Gymnasium this season, averaging close to 56 points per contest.
Scoring 56.7 points per game overall, Zoe Curtis leads Earlham at 12.3 points per contest. Mariah Flynn is adding 8.8 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game, for the Quakers.
THE SERIES: Winners of three straight, Hanover has also won 14 of the 15 meetings since the start of the 2006-07 season. The Panthers earned an 86-75 victory in the first contest this season in Richmond, Ind., and each of the last three wins over the Quakers have been by double-digits. The last time HC and EC met in Collier Arena, the Blue and Red won the Feb. 11, 2017 meeting, 93-71.
LAST TIME OUT: Hanover jumped out to a quick lead and four players scored in double figures during an 88-67 triumph over Anderson, back on Feb. 3. The Panthers outscored the Ravens 56-28 in the first half, posting their highest scoring half of the season.
Senior Allison Nash (Speedway, Ind.) tallied a team high 13 points off the bench, as she and Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) combined for 23 of HC's 50 bench points. Motter and Nall each added 10 points in the starting lineup for the Blue and Red.
UP NEXT: The Panthers will close a four-game home stand by welcoming Manchester for a 5 p.m. start, Saturday, Feb. 10. Hanover defeated the Spartans on the road earlier this season, 81-62.
Contact: Tyler Jester