Panthers' strong start stings Yellow Jackets in 73-61 win

Macy Walker

HANOVER, Ind. – A strong first half, engineered on the defensive end, guided the Hanover women's basketball team to a 73-61 win over Defiance Saturday afternoon, inside Collier Arena.

The Community Day-hosted contest saw the Panthers (6-3, 3-1 HCAC) jump out to a 20-11 advantage after the first quarter of play. Hanover logged six steals in the opening quarter to set the defensive tone.

To start the second stanza, the Blue and Red rattled off 12 of the quarter's first 13 points to extend their edge to 32-12 as 6:35 showed on the first-half clock. Hanover eventually outscored the Yellow Jackets (1-7, 1-2 HCAC) by a count of 23-8 in the second quarter, pushing its halftime lead up to 43-19.

Junior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) was key in Hanover's strong start, as she had a double-double at halftime, 10 points and 10 rebounds. Nall would go on to finish with a team-high 17 points and 13 rebounds, as she played just 10 minutes in the second half. The junior now has three double-doubles on the season. 

The final 20 minutes saw Defiance climb back into the game, but HC led by 12 or more points throughout en route to its second Community Day victory in three years.

Overall, four players scored in double figures for the Blue and Red. Nall was joined by senior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind,), and juniors Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) and Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.). Cromer added 15 points, while also tying a career high in steals with five. The senior did most of her damage from deep, making four-of-six three-pointers.

The additional two juniors to post double-digits in the scoring column, Motter and Hartman, finished with 12 and 10 points respectively. Motter added 8 rebounds and four steals. Hartman scored nine of her 10 points in the first half, as pitched in with six rebounds as well.

Hanover assisted on 20 of the team's 25 made field goals Saturday, giving the team at least 20 helpers in two conference games this season. The Panthers were led by senior Macy Walker (Indianapolis, Ind.), who logged six dimes off the bench. As a reserve, Walker also added four points and three rebounds.

Another key to the Panthers' success was their ability to capitalize on Yellow Jacket giveaways. Defiance had 22 turnovers in the game, 14 on HC steals, and the Panthers turned the errors into 25 points.

Hanover will now break from conference play and look to close out the calendar year with two victories in Puerto Rico next week. The Panthers are slated to begin the international, non-conference stretch with a noon (ET) start against Virginia Wesleyan on Tuesday, Dec. 18.

Contact: Tyler Jester