Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - The Hanover women's basketball team will look to set a positive tone at home this year, beginning with a contest against Spalding (Ky.).
The Panthers (2-2) square off with the Golden Eagles at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 28, inside Collier Arena.
HOME OPENING SUCCESS: The Blue and Red have opened their Collier calendar with wins in six of the past eight years, most recently versus Spalding. Last season, Hanover defeated the Golden Eagles 83-39, as senior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) led the way with 19 points and five assists. Hanover has shown the ability to score during its last recent home openers, averaging 82.5 points per game over the past attempts. The team's last home-opening defeat was a last second loss to Transylvania in the 2015-16 season.
MALEHA MAKING PLAYS: Junior Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) has been a force thus far, posting a double-double in each of her first four showings. Among those was the two-game stint at the Fred Raizk Memorial Tournament, where she was named Tournament MVP with a 17.5 points per game average and 15.5 rebounds per game average for the weekend. This gained the attention of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference as well, earning Motter her second career HCAC Player of the Week award.
Through the first four, Motter averages 16.3 points to go along with 15 boards per game. Highlighting these was a 22-point, 14-rebound outing against Wilmington (Ohio) that saw her score 15 of her 22 in the first half. Nationally, Motter's rebounding statistics rank at the top: her 11 defensive rebounds per game paces NCAA Division III, while her 15 rebounds per game is fifth-best. Additionally, her four double-doubles slot third in the nation.
NALL'S NICHE: Junior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) has been a key cog for the Panthers as well, averaging 15.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per contest this season. Nall's game has been efficient just as it was last year: she's shooting 46 percent from the field and is a perfect 14-of-14 from the free throw line. In the matchup with Wheaton (Ill.) on Nov. 17, Nall notched 22 points, eight boards and three steals, with 10 of her 22 coming in the fourth quarter.
Nall has had a duo of double-doubles this year: she had 16 points and 10 rebounds versus Buena Vista (Iowa), while logging 14 points and 10 rebounds against Centre (Ky.). Nall's pair of double-doubles ranks 48th in the nation, while her 100% free throw clip sits her atop NCAA Division III with 14 other players.
GUARDING THE ASSETS: Senior Avery Chezem (Loogootee, Ind.) along with Cromer have proven to be a pair of multifaceted members of the squad. For Cromer's part, she's turned the ball over no more than twice in a game so far, while grabbing two or more rebounds in each appearance. Her best game of the young season was at Wilmington, where she had 15 points to go along with three rebounds and two steals.
In Chezem's case, she successfully improved or matched her previous game point total with each successive showing, working her way to a pair of 10-point performances versus Centre and Wilmington last weekend. Chezem has shot 7-for-16 from three-point land, but has also been active in distributing and defense. She has six steals on the year, with pairs in three of four matchups. Moreover, Chezem has seven assists, including three multi-dime nights.
SCOUTING SPALDING: The Golden Eagles sit at 2-2 on the season, with a pair of defeats sandwiched between their two victories. Hanover has won their previous two matchups with Spalding, both coming in consecutive years. In their 2016-17 meeting, the Blue and Red came out with a 92-91 victory in which Motter hit the go-ahead layup with five seconds remaining to stave off a Golden Eagle comeback. AS mentioned earlier, HC took last season's contest, 83-39.
Contact: Tyler Jester