Panthers host Manchester in key conference contest Saturday

Katie Hartman

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HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women's basketball team will look to run its winning streak to three games when they welcome Manchester for a weekend matinee.

The Panthers (14-8, 10-5 HCAC) and Spartans will conclude a men's-women's doubleheader inside Collier Arena at 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10.

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THE TEAMS: With two victories to open the month of February, the Panthers have already secured a top four spot in the HCAC postseason tournament and are still eligible to climb all the way up to No. 2 by season's end. The Blue and Red have surpassed their overall win total from last year and are just one win away from matching their 11 conference victories in 2016-17.

Hanover has won seven of its last 10 overall, as they had a five-game winning streak to open this stretch of strong play. Since the start of the New Year, HC is 7-4 and outscoring its opponents by an average margin of 8.5 points per game.

The Panthers have also had success at home all season long, producing a 7-2 overall mark and 5-2 record in HCAC contests. In nine home outings this season, HC's top three scorers, sophomores Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) and Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.), and junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.), have combined for 41.2 points per game. Hanover is averaging nearly six more points at home this season, 75.3 per contest.

Manchester (7-15, 6-9 HCAC) has won three of its last five overall, including their lone road contest during the stretch, a 44-40 triumph at Franklin on Jan. 31. The Spartans are a combined 2-9 in road/neutral site games this season.

As a team, MU is averaging 54.3 points per game, while shooting just over 32 percent from the field. Nicole Weaver leads the squad at 12.1 points per game, while Haley Farris is recording 9.2 scoring and 5.9 rebounding averages.

THE SERIES: Hanover has won four straight against Manchester, dating back to February 2016. The Panthers have won eight of the last 10 home meetings with the Spartans and are 15-7 since 2006. In the first game between the two sides this season, HC had a trio of players tally 15 points or more in an 81-62 road victory.

LAST TIME OUT: Leading by single digits at halftime, the Panthers outscored Earlham 27-15 in the third quarter en route to an 81-66 home win Wednesday evening. The Panthers scored over 20 points in the first three quarters, while shooting a season-high 54.8 percent from the field.

Motter and Nall were the lone Panthers in double figures with 23 and 19 points, respectively. Motter also recorded seven rebounds and three blocks, while Nall added three steals defensively.

Senior Allison Nash (Speedway, Ind.) pitched in with eight points off the bench, while juniors Macy Walker (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Morgan Bivins (Bloomington, Ind.) combined for 13 points as reserves. Overall, HC held a 23-10 edge in bench points.

UP NEXT: Hanover will open the final week of the regular season by traveling to Mt. St. Joseph at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 14. The Panthers and Lions played a double-overtime thriller inside Collier Arena earlier this season, where HC prevailed, 99-90.

Contact: Tyler Jester

jestert@hanover.edu