TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Sophomore Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) poured in a career high 29 points, but the Hanover women's basketball team's upset bid over No. 20 Rose-Hulman fell short Friday evening in the HCAC Tournament Semifinals, 76-73.
Nall led three Panthers (18-9) in double figures Friday by making 12-of-20 attempts, both of which set new career highs. The sophomore added a team high 11 rebounds, as well as three assists and two steals.
Junior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) scored seven of the final 10 points for HC, finishing the game with 16. Cromer made three tries from long range and paced the Panthers in assists with four. Sophomore Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) pitched in with 11 points, eight rebounds and a pair of steals.
After experiencing one of its lower first half scoring totals this season, Hanover found itself in a 14-point hole at the intermission, 45-31. A 15-6 run by HC, spanning the end of the first and second quarters, had them within four points, 26-22, but the Fightin' Engineers (23-3) went on an 11-2 scoring spurt to end the half.
Hanover opened the second half with seven of the first 10 points, closing the gap to 10, 48-38, with 6:38 left in the third quarter. The Blue and Red were able to close the gap to eight on a few occasions in the period and a 9-3 run to end the frame had them within five points, 60-55, heading into the fourth.
Several times in the last period the Panther deficit was four points before the Engineers would push it back out to a more comfortable margin. It was not until a three pointer from Cromer that HC had pulled within one possession, trailing 69-66 with 2:46 remaining. Five quick RHIT points extended its advantage back out to seven points, 73-66, with 1:51 showing on the clock.
As they did all night, the Panthers continued to climb back, as a three pointer from sophomore Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio) made it 74-73 with less than 10 seconds remaining. After RHIT netted a pair of free throws, Hanover's game-tying three pointer went off the iron as time expired, extending RHIT's nation's longest home winning streak to 37 games.
Hanover finished with the better of the two field goal percentages, .448, behind a 53.3 percent shooting effort in the second half. Rose-Hulman's advantage came on the glass, where they outgained HC, 46-30.
Nall finishes the season with a .586 field goal percentage, which breaks a nearly 20-year-old program record set by Andrea Spurgeon (.556) in 1999-00. To be considered for the record, a player must attempt at least 200 field goals in a season. Her classmate, Motter, also broke the 10-year-old single season rebound record earlier this week, finishing with 299 in the 2017-18 campaign.
Contact: Tyler Jester