Strong start sends women's basketball past Spartans, 84-53

Savannah Courtney

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – The Hanover women's basketball team used a 60 percent shooting performance in the first half Saturday to cruise to an 84-53 triumph at Manchester in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action.

With the win, the Panthers have won three straight and five of their last six outings overall. Hanover improves to 9-4 overall and keeps pace atop the HCAC standings at 5-1.

The Blue and Red made 13-of-20 (.650) first quarter shots as they led 31-15 after 10 minutes of play. Holding just a one-point edge with 4:23 showing on the first period clock, HC outscored the Spartans (2-11, 0-6 HCAC) by a count of 19-4.

Hanover added the first four points of the second quarter, pushing the scoring run to 23-4, as the team led by 20 points for the first in the contest, 35-15, with 9:08 left before halftime. The largest first half lead for the Panthers was 29 points, as they led 54-28 at the break.

Behind another solid shooting second quarter, the Blue and Red finished the first half by making 21-of-35 field goal attempts. Overall, HC would hold a .433-.364 edge in field goal percentage.

Hanover's scoring advantage would expand to as many as 33 points on numerous occasions in the second half and after going in front by 30-plus early in the third quarter, the lead never fell below a 25-point margin.

Junior Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) led a balanced offensive attack, which featured 13 different players in the scoring column. Motter logged 21 points and 12 rebounds, improving her conference-best double-double mark to nine. Classmate Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) added 11 points and nine rebounds on four-of-five shooting.

Off the bench, sophomore Savannah Courtney (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) tallied 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks, all in just 12 minutes of play. Courtney's performance set new career highs for points, assists, steals and blocks.

Adding to the bench scoring were senior Avery Chezem (Loogootee, Ind.), seven points, senior Macy Walker (Indianapolis, Ind.), five points, and junior Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio), five points. The Panthers recorded a 38-21 edge in bench points Saturday.

In the starting lineup, junior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) led Hanover in assists and steals with four apiece. Todd, along with starters Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) and junior Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.), combined for 14 points.

The Panthers would finish with a 47-35 edge on the glass, with 18 offensive rebounds led to 15 second chance points. The Blue and Red also enjoyed double-digit advantages in paint (38-26) and fastbreak points (14-4).

Hanover will look to continue its longest winning streak of the season when the team welcomes Earlham next Wednesday, Jan. 9, for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.

Contact: Tyler Jester