Panthers close Puerto Rico trip with 69-40 win over Alvernia

Kristin Mills

TRUJILLO ALTO, Puerto Rico – A balanced offensive attack, coupled with a strong defensive effort, led the Hanover women's basketball team to a 69-40 triumph over Alvernia (Pa.) in its finale in Puerto Rico Wednesday afternoon.

The Panthers (7-4), who split their two-game stretch internationally, had 10 different players score in the contest, with six players tallying six or more points. Junior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) paced the Blue and Red with 16 points, as she was a perfect six-for-six from the field. Nall added seven rebounds, two assists and two steals as well.

Recording 15 points was junior Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.). Motter went on to pace the Panthers in rebounds (12), assists (3), blocks (3) and steals (4). Her three rejections tie a career high, as the junior also posted her conference-leading eighth double-double of the season.

Pouring in seven points each were juniors Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) and Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio). Hartman added eight rebound. Junior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) and freshman McKenzie Messmore (Bedford, Ind.) pitched in with six points each as well.

Trailing by five points midway through the opening quarter, Hanover proceeded to close the frame on a 12-2 run to capture a 20-15 lead. Six different players scored during the run.

The Panthers' scoring spurt continued into the second quarter, where they scored the first seven points, extending the run to 19-2. Hanover led by as many as 16 points in the first half, 34-18, after a three-pointer from Motter at the 4:39 mark.

Finishing the first half with a .444 shooting clip, the Blue and Red led Alvernia (3-8) by a count of 37-25 at the break. Hanover's starters, Hartman, Motter, Nall, Todd and senior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.), combined for 29 points in the first half.

The third quarter saw the Panthers take advantage of eight giveaways by the Golden Wolves, by scoring 11 points off turnovers. Hanover's defense led to a 23-9 edge in the third stanza, pushing the lead to 58-32 with 10 minutes to play.

The Blue and Red led by as many as 30 points in the fourth quarter before capturing the 29-point, 69-40 victory. Hanover outscored Alvernia 34-17 in the second half.

Overall, the Panthers finished with a .414 field goal percentage. Hanover enjoyed a 46-33 edge on the glass, while also scoring 28 points in the paint.

The Blue and Red have now closed out the calendar year and will return to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play in the New Year. Hanover's first game out of the break will be at home against HCAC preseason favorite, Rose-Hulman, with tipoff slated for 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 2.

Contact: Tyler Jester