HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women's basketball team will look to secure its first spot in the HCAC Tournament championship in four years with a contest against the weekend host and No. 1 seed Rose-Hulman Friday, Feb. 23.
The Panthers (18-8), who are in the tournament semifinals for the first time since the 2014-15 season, will tip off against the No. 20 Fightin' Engineers (22-3), winner of 20 straight games, at 6:30 p.m., Friday, inside Hulbert Arena.
SEMIS HAVE BEEN SWEET: Entering Friday's game, the Panthers have won their last seven appearances in the HCAC Tournament Semifinal round, with three of those wins ultimately leading to championships. Since the 2008-09 season, Hanover has qualified for the HCAC Tournament nine out of 10 years, producing a 14-5 record. The Blue and Red's last trip to the semifinal round in 2014-15, saw them win 65-51 over Rose-Hulman, before defeating the host Transylvania in the championship, 106-98, which marked the Panthers' last victory over a nationally ranked opponent.
MOTTER SETS SINGLE SEASON REBOUND RECORD: With 14 rebounds in Hanover's HCAC Opening Round win over Earlham Tuesday, sophomore Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) broke the program record for most rebounds in a single season. Motter surpassed Molly Martin's previous record of 289 rebounds, set in 2007-08, with just one minute remaining on the clock Tuesday night. For the season, Motter has 291 total rebounds and her 11.2 boards per game ranks first in the HCAC and 37th nationally. The sophomore also has a HCAC top five scoring average of 13.4 points per game this season.
UNBEATEN IN FEBRUARY: Hanover has posted unblemished 6-0 record during the month of February and have guaranteed themselves their best winning percentage in a single month under third year head coach John Jones. The current six-game winning streak is the longest in the Jones era, and since the calendar turned to the second month of 2018, HC has averaged 76.2 points per game, won all six games by double figures and holds a 19.0 average scoring margin. The Blue and Red had a similar run last year, winning four of their final six regular season games to secure a spot in the conference tournament.
NALL NAILING SHOTS: Entering Friday's contest, sophomore Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) has the best single season field goal percentage in program history, currently producing a .585 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 during the 1999-00 season. Nall is averaging a team high 13.8 points per game this year and her overall field goal percentage is 10th in NCAA Division III.
HCAC'S TOP OFFENSE AND DEFENSE COLLIDE FRIDAY: It will be the classic offense versus defense battle Friday evening, as the Panthers and Engineers possess the conference's best scoring offense and defense, respectively. Hanover is the only HCAC institution averaging over 70 points per game, 73.0, while Rose-Hulman's scoring defense of 46.4 points per contest is the third best in NCAA Division III.
FAST START SENDS PANTHERS TO SEMIFINALS: Like they have all season long, the Panthers jumped out to an early advantage Tuesday night against Earlham, leading 23-10 after the first quarter. Hanover has outscored its opponents by nearly 200 total points in the opening 10 minutes of play this year. The Blue and Red also led the Engineers after the first quarter in both regular season meetings, including a 26-10 advantage, behind a .692 shooting effort, at Rose-Hulman back on Jan. 3.
Contact: Tyler Jester