HANOVER, Ind. – On a day when the Hanover women's basketball team honored its senior athletes, it was the three soon-to-be-graduates that propelled the Panthers to an 81-66 victory over Defiance.
The three seniors, Julia Miller (Hartsville, Ind.), Baylee Mitchell (Advance, Ind.) and Allison Nash (Speedway, Ind.), combined to score HC's first 14 points, making seven of their first eight field goal attempts. The Panthers led 14-2 at the 5:47 mark of the opening quarter.
Nash would score 12 of her 15 points in the first frame, making five of six shots in the opening 10 minutes of play. Miller finished with a season high eight points, while also setting a season high in rebounds, five, and a career high in blocks, two. Mitchell pitched in with three points and five rebounds.
Hanover (17-8, 13-5 HCAC) finished the first quarter with a 14-2 edge points in the paint, leading to a 33-8 advantage on the scoreboard. The Blue and Red posted its highest scoring quarter of the season behind a 12-for-18 shooting effort (.667). Defiance (7-18, 5-13 HCAC) was forced into a .235 (4-17) opening quarter shooting clip.
An 8-0 run for the Panthers in the second quarter extended its lead to 31 points, their largest of the game, at 43-12, with 4:19 remaining before the intermission. Hanover would enter the break with a 51-24 lead, tallying 50-plus points in the first half for the second time in five outings.
Despite getting outscored in both the third and fourth quarters, the Blue and Red comfortably led throughout, picking an 81-66 decision. The victory ties a season high five-game winning streak for the Panthers and gives them the most conference victories in a season, 13, since 2014-15.
Sophomore Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) poured in a team high 16 points off the bench, making 5-of-8 attempts from the field and all six tries at the charity stripe. Nall also added seven rebounds. Classmate Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) led the team with 12 rebounds, giving her 11 games this season with double-digit boards.
Joining Nall and Motter off the bench was junior Morgan Bivins (Bloomington, Ind.), who tallied seven points and a pair of rebounds in seven minutes. As a starter, sophomore Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) tied a career high with eight assists. Todd dished out six of her helpers in the opening period of play.
Hanover finished the game with a 40-26 advantage in points in the paint, while also enjoying a 45-36 edge in bench points. For the third straight game, HC also recorded 50-plus rebounds, outgaining Defiance 51-32 Saturday.
The Panthers will host an opening round game as the HCAC Tournament's No. 4 seed for the second consecutive season. Hanover will welcome the No. 5 seed, Earlham, for the first round game at 7:30 or 8 p.m., depending on the final results of the HCAC men's basketball standings.
Stay tuned on social media, @HanoverPanthers, and athletics.hanover.edu for the official start time.
Contact: Tyler Jester