Hanover women open HCAC Tournament at home versus Earlham

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HANOVER, Ind. – For the second straight season, the Hanover women's basketball team will host an opening round contest in the HCAC Tournament, this time welcoming Earlham.

The fourth-seeded Panthers (17-8, 13-5 HCAC) and fifth-seeded Quakers (7-18, 7-11 HCAC) close out a men's-women's doubleheader at approximately 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 20, inside Collier Arena.

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BACK IN THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: After a one-year hiatus in 2015-16, Hanover returns to the HCAC Tournament for the second straight season. The Panthers were also the event's No. 4 seed a year ago but fell to Franklin in the opening round. The Blue and Red will be looking to return to the weekend portion of the tournament for the first time since 2014-15, when they won the championship, beating the host, Transylvania, 106-98. Hanover has won three HCAC and one ICAC Tournament championships since the 1996-97 season.

Earlham, on the other hand, will be making its first appearance in the HCAC Tournament in program history. The Quakers' last postseason conference tournament appearance came in the North Coast Athletic Conference during the 2007-08 campaign. Under first year head coach and former Panther standout Shauna Watson ('15), Earlham's seven conference victories this year are four more than their totals in each of the past two seasons.

UNBEATEN IN FEBRUARY: The Panthers have posted an unblemished 5-0 record during the month of February, as the stretch of play ties the team's longest winning streak of the season. Since the calendar turned to the second month of 2018, HC has averaged 77.6 points per contest, won all five games by double digits and hold an average scoring margin of 21.0 points per game. The Panthers had a similar run last season, winning four of their final six regular season games to secure a spot in the conference tournament.

NALL NAILING SHOTS: Entering Tuesday's contest, sophomore Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) has the best single season field goal percentage in program history, currently producing a .575 overall shooting clip. The current record, with a minimum of 200 field goal attempts, belongs to Andrea Spurgeon, who shot 55.6 percent from the field in the 1999-00 season. Nall is averaging a team high 13.7 points per game this year and her overall field goal percentage is among the top 15 in NCAA Division III.

MOTTER NEARING SINGLE SEASON REBOUND RECORD: Sophomore Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) is currently 13 rebounds shy of breaking the Hanover women's basketball record for most rebounds in a single season. With just one guaranteed game remaining this season, Motter would need 13 rebounds against Earlham to surpass Molly Martin's mark of 289 rebounds in 2007-08. The sophomore has 20 total rebounds versus the Quakers this season, including 13 in the first meeting at Earlham, back on Jan. 10. Motter is the only player in the HCAC to average a double-double this season, 13.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, and her total double-double count of 10 and her rebounding average are both among the nation's best.

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS: Hanover has produced a 9-2 record at home this season and are winners of four straight inside Collier Arena. The Panthers have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 12.1 points per game at home this season. The Blue and Red have also topped 80 points on five occasions and conceded less than 60 points four times in their friendly confines. In the home outing with Earlham earlier this season, HC won 81-66.

Contact: Tyler Jester

jestert@hanover.edu