Hartman scores 20, Motter nets game-winner in Panthers' home opener

Katie Hartman

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women's basketball team trailed throughout Wednesday evening before rallying for a 74-73 victory over Spalding (Ky.) in its home opener.

Heading into the start of the fourth quarter, the Panthers (3-2) had led for just over one minute of play and found themselves down 59-56 with 10 minutes remaining. Trailing for most of the fourth quarter, Hanover received back-to-back scores from junior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) to go in front 72-71 with 45 seconds remaining.

The Golden Eagles (2-3) struggled at the charity stripe down the stretch, as they split a pair of free throws with 35 seconds showing on the clock, tying the game at 72-all. On the next offensive possession for HC, junior Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) drove to the right side from the top of the key, and after a spin move got her open in the post, she laid in what would be the game-winning basket with 19 seconds left to play.

Spalding again had a chance to tie the game, but made just one of two free throw attempts, leaving the Blue and Red with a 74-73 edge and less than 10 seconds to play. The Golden Eagles, who had just one foul in the quarter, could not get enough in late to force HC to the line, as the Panthers secured the win.

Motter and Nall were a part of a performance that saw all five Panther starters reach double-digits in the scoring column. Hanover also had five total players hit the 10-point plateau in its previous outing at Wilmington last Sunday. The duo finished with 10 and 12 points, respectively. Motter also logged a team-high 11 rebounds, giving her five double-doubles this season.

Leading the scoring was junior Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.), who poured in 18 of her team-high 20 points in the first half. Overall, Hartman made 8-of-12 shots, including a four-for-six effort from behind the arc. The junior pitched in with four rebounds, three assists and two steals as well.

Senior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) and junior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) did most of their damage in the third quarter, combining for 13 of HC's 17 points in the frame. Cromer tallied 12 points overall, while Todd finished with 11 on five-of-seven shooting. The duo also combined for five helpers.

Hanover fell victim to a hot shooting first half by the Golden Eagles, who rode a .563 field goal percentage to a 42-39 halftime edge. The Panthers though, finished the first 20 minutes with a .467 shooting clip of their own to stay within striking distance.

Trailing by nine points in the third quarter, the Blue and Red used a 13-3 run, capped by a Cromer free throw, to take their first lead of the night at 54-53 with 2:24 left in the period. Spalding though, rallied to recapture a three-point lead by the quarter's end.

Both sides finished the contest 29-of-60 from the field, a .483 clip. The difference for HC was that they shot 53.3 percent in the fourth quarter, while holding SU to a .385 mark. Hanover also enjoyed a 39-31 edge on the glass, which helped lead to a 10-7 edge in second chance points.

Overall, there were 19 lead changes and nine ties over the 40-minute game.

Hanover, who has now won three straight home openers, will turn its attention to league play. The Panthers are set to open Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action at home Saturday, Dec. 1, with a 1 p.m. tip against Franklin.

Contact: Tyler Jester