Late rally falls short as Panthers drop conference tilt at MSJ

Kristin Mills

CINCINNATI – Despite double-doubles from Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) and Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.), as well as a season scoring high from Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio) off the bench, the Hanover women's basketball team fell on the road at Mount St. Joseph Wednesday evening, 70-69.

Nall tallied 20 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, while Motter added to her conference-leading double-double mark with a team-high 21 points and 15 rebounds. Off the bench, Mills provided 11 points on five-of-eight shooting.

Starting at guard, classmate Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) recorded eight assists to go along with six points. Todd, Motter and senior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) also logged three steals apiece.

With the loss, the Panthers' (11-5) win streak is snapped at five games, as they also fall a game back in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings. The Lions' win gives them four conference victories in their last six outings, as they improved to 10-6 overall and 5-4 in HCAC play.

After allowing the opening five points, Nall and Motter combined to go on an 11-0 scoring spurt to give HC its largest lead of the night, six points, at 11-5 with 4:33 remaining in the first quarter. The junior forwards combined for 15 of the team's 17 first quarter points as the game was all knotted up after 10 minutes of play.

The Panthers held a 32-29 lead near the midway point of the second period, but the advantage would turn out to be their last of the half, as MSJ closed the quarter on a 9-2 run. The Lions led 38-34 at the intermission.

Mount St. Joseph led throughout in the third frame, pushing its lead to as many as 12 points before a 9-2 run by the Panthers pulled them within four, 55-51. Four different players scored for HC during the period-ending run.

Finding itself down late in the fourth, Hanover used an 8-0 spurt, capped by a three-point-play from Todd to take a 69-67 lead, its first advantage since the second quarter. The Lions though, nailed a corner trey with 22 seconds remaining to go in front 70-69.

The Blue and Red would have multiple possessions down the stretch but were unable to get off an uncontested shot, resulting in the one-point loss.

Overall, both sides netted 26 total field goals in the contest. Mount St. Joseph though, made 10 attempts from three-point land, including the game-winner, while HC struggled from behind the arc at a 3-for-16 clip. The disparity behind the arc however, did lead the Panthers to a 38-28 edge in the paint. Hanover also outrebounded the Lions, 50-28.

The Panthers will look to get back on track this weekend when they start the second round of conference play at Franklin. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 19. Hanover took the opening meeting at home, 94-72.

Contact: Tyler Jester