Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - The Hanover women's basketball team will look to capture a pair of victories in two of its final four contests of the regular season.
The Panthers will travel to face Earlham for their final Wednesday road tilt, with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6. The Blue and Red will then return home for Senior Day action against Manchester in the second game of a men's-women's doubleheader. Action for Senior Day is slated for 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9.
LAST TIME OUT: Hanover recently won an 86-54 final at Anderson, making it the fifth consecutive road win HC has garnered on a Saturday. With its victory, HC is now 14-7 overall, with a 10-4 mark in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Junior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) continued her string of impressive performances with 15 points and 10 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the year.
NALL'S NOTABLE YEAR: Throughout the campaign, Nall has shown herself to be one of the top players in the HCAC. She leads the conference in points per game average (18.5) and field goal percentage (.595), while she sits in second in rebounds per outing (9.2). With her nine double-doubles, she slots among the national leaders. Her shooting efficiency is one of the best figures in NCAA Division III, as she has now risen to eighth-highest.
With her 15 points versus Anderson, this also marks 34 consecutive matchups that Nall has at least 10 points dating back to last season. The last time she was under the mark was Jan. 3, 2018, at Rose-Hulman, where she scored seven points.
COURTNEY COMING UP: Sophomore Savannah Courtney (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) has been an important factor in recent weeks, posting double digit minutes off the bench in three of the last four games. In those instances, Courtney has averaged close to nine points per game on 15 minutes of average playing time. Moreover, she shot a combined 12-of-16 from the floor in those three appearances.
Among those was a career-high performance against Anderson, where she registered 12 points on six-of-eight shooting to lead the bench.
PROVIDING A SPARK: Juniors Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) are two guards that have each had career years in important aspects of their game. Mills has seen increased playing time as of late, and it has translated to success on the floor. In her past three appearances, Mills averages close to 10 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field. Moreover, she has at least one steal in each outing, making it four swipes over the three-matchup span.
As for Todd, she is currently putting up the most efficient numbers of her career in the passing game. Her 2.09:1 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks 36th in the nation by NCAA qualifications and third in the HCAC by league measurements. Perhaps the best example of her proficient play was against Bluffton on Jan. 26, where Todd dished six dimes and added three steals in the triumph.
SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Senior Day will celebrate a trio of seniors in Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.), Avery Chezem (Loogootee, Ind.), and Morgan Bivins (Bloomington, Ind.), who have all provided valuable contributions to team success over the last four years.
Cromer has a 9.1 points per game average over her collegiate career, highlighted by a 21-point performance on Dec. 9, 2015 against Transylvania. While having a 1.7 steals per contest clip over her career, her senior season has seen her highest per-outing number in the category at 2.6 steals. Moreover, Cromer has been more efficient with her passes than ever before, as she's recorded a 1.4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio in the 2018-19 campaign.
Chezem, who has been a Panther for the past two years, has amassed a 5.7 points per game average while posting a 1.7:1 assist to turnover ratio. During this season, Chezem leads the HCAC with a 2.5:1 mark in the column to lead all her competitors. Perhaps her best outing in the Blue and Red came on Dec. 29, 2017, when she had 19 points against nationally-ranked Ohio Northern to lead HC in scoring. The senior led the team with four assists last time out, giving her three-plus helpers in three of the last four games.
Bivins has notched 15 starts in her Hanover career with 88 total games played. In them, Bivins averages 3.3 points per game while shooting at a clip of .485. Of her highlights, her most notable is the Dec. 16, 2017 showdown against Defiance, where she notched a personal-high 15 points on five-of-six field goals to aid the Panthers in a 92-62 win.
SCOUTING EARLHAM: The Earlham Quakers are currently 8-13 overall that includes a 6-8 slate in interleague play. HC garnered a 62-51 victory over the Quakers on Jan. 9 to make it six straight wins for the Panthers against Earlham, all coming by double digits.
Junior Camryn White leads the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game, while adding five boards and 2.7 dimes per showing to her season resume. Classmate Zoe Curtis adds 12.3 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Quakers. Earlham is 5-4 on their home floor this year, with wins over HCAC institutions in three of their last four home tilts.
SCOUTING MANCHESTER: The Manchester Spartans sit at 3-17 overall with a 1-12 mark in the HCAC. Manchester will host Anderson at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6, before trekking to Collier Arena on Saturday. The Blue and Red won an 84-53 contest in North Manchester on Jan. 5, making it six consecutive triumphs over the Spartans.
Faith-Alexis Graham currently spearheads the Spartans at nine points per game, while notching four rebounds and three assists per outing as well.
Contact: Tyler Jester