FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Hanover women's basketball team claimed their fourth straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opening game victory on Wednesday evening as the team used a balanced attack to defeat area rival Franklin, 70-58. With the win, Hanover has defeated Franklin in six straight meetings.
Hanover (2-3 overall, 1-0 HCAC) saw four players finish in double figures led by senior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.). Nall posted a double-double for the Blue and Red tallying 14 points with a game-high 15 rebounds. Senior Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) tied a team-high 14 points, while junior Savannah Courtney (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) chipped in 13 points and senior Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio) 11 points. As a team, the Panthers shot a game-high 46.2 percent from the floor.
Nall wasted little time getting to the charity stripe as she hit a pair of free throws in the opening minute before a Mills layup gave HC the slim advantage, 6-5. Hanover capitalized on the momentum with a three-pointer by Hartman at the 5:53 mark to push the difference to 9-5. The Panthers continued to push the gas pedal netting six straight points capped off by a Mills jumper en route to the 18-13 first quarter lead.
Hanover torched the net in the second quarter as a Mills three-pointer followed by a Nall layup extended the advantage at the halfway point, 23-16. The Blue and Red claimed its largest first half lead of nine moments later with a deep ball by sophomore Lexi Riggles (Danville, Ind.). However, the Franklin side came alive using a short run to cut the deficit, 28-25. Hartman dealt clutch sinking back-to-back shots to combat the Grizzlies and propel the Panthers to the halftime advantage.
The second half started much of the same as Courtney sank a pair of free throws that sparked a small Panther charge just minutes into the stanza. The Blue and Red fired on all cylinders pushing the difference to 49-32 following a freshman Callie Wilder (North Vernon, Ind.) layup and Hartman free throws at the 3:59 mark. Senior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) and freshman Anna Bauer (Indianapolis, Ind.) would close out the period with back-to-back scores for the convincing 55-39 lead.
The fourth quarter saw Franklin look to get something going as they were able to pull within six before a Courtney three-pointer at the 6:05 mark crushed the momentum. Hanover sealed the contest at the free throw line connecting on four of six attempts in the final minute to secure the HCAC opening game victory.
The Panthers return to action on Saturday, Dec. 7 when they play host to Manchester for their first home contest of the season. Tip-off is set for 5 PM.