Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women's basketball team got off to a hot start and never fully cooled off on Saturday, as they beat the Franklin Grizzlies 94-72 in the opening game of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference campaign.
The Panthers (4-2, 1-0 HCAC) began the game by hitting four of their first five field goal attempts, jumping out to a 9-3 lead with 8:34 left in the first quarter. The Grizzlies responded with a run of their own, and by 5:44 left in the opening frame, the score was 13-12 in favor of the Blue and Red. However, Hanover would close the quarter on a 14-3 scoring run and they never looked back.
Junior Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) continued her impressive trend against Franklin as she led the Panthers with 23 points, tying a career-high. Hartman opened scoring with a three-pointer, notching seven points in the first period and 12 in the second. At half, she had 19 points on five-of-seven shooting, including a perfect three-for-three behind the arc. She was one of four players in double figures for Hanover and has now scored 10-plus points in four-of-six games thus far.
Joining her was junior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) who added 18 points on 9-of-12 field goals to bolster the Blue and Red offense. Junior Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) had herself another double-double, racking up 11 points and 14 rebounds. Motter entered tied for the national lead in double-doubles, as she improved her mark to six this season.
Senior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) spearheaded Hanover's third quarter, scoring nine of her 11 points in the period. Cromer hit both of her three's in the third, and within 90 seconds of each, other to push a 61-42 Panther advantage with 6:11 on the clock. Junior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) assisted on each of Cromer's treys and had a personal-best nine dimes on the day. Todd also tallied nine points, three rebounds and three steals for the squad.
On the afternoon, the Panthers had a .603 field goal percentage, their highest mark since a 109-104 win over La Verne in 2012, when they shot 61.5 percent from the floor. The Blue and Red were also proficient from three-point territory, hitting 9-of-15 (.600). Meanwhile, Franklin started 5-of-17 from the field in the first quarter before bringing their percentage up to .394 by game's end. The Grizzlies best efficiency was seen in the second quarter, as they posted a .500 field goal percentage and went two-of-three from long range.
In rebounding, Hanover enjoyed a 41-34 advantage, with a 32-22 edge on the defensive glass. The Panthers also dished out 25 assists to the Grizzlies' 16, with 10 coming in the second quarter.
The Blue and Red, who have now won three consecutive conference openers, will next take the floor when they travel to Transylvania, with scheduled tip-off set for 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 5.
Contact: Tyler Jester