WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The Hanover women's basketball team opened play at the Walt Ballenger Classic on Saturday evening with host Otterbein, falling to the Cardinals 66-59.
Leading the charge for the Blue and Red (4-4 overall) was junior Savannah Courtney (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) with a team-high 16 points, including a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. Senior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) chipped in 13 points.
Hanover opened the contest with a 6-0 run before the Cardinals responded at the 5:13 mark with a three-pointer. Otterbein continued to chip at the Panther lead tying the game at 8-8 with just over two minutes remaining. However, senior Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio) dealt clutch with a deep ball in the final seconds of the opening period to propel the teams to a 13-13 tie.
The back and forth battle continued into the second quarter as neither team could find an edge when senior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) hit a layup giving the Blue and Red the slim 17-15 advantage. But the Cardinals strung together a small run of their own to capture the lead with just under four minutes remaining. They would out score Hanover in the period for the slim 30-28 advantage.
The second half saw the Panthers take the lead midway through the third quarter as Courtney hit a layup at the 5:56 mark but were unable to hang on as back-to-back Otterbein scores pushed the difference to 44-40. The Cardinals carried the momentum into the fourth quarter extending the lead to 51-42 when senior Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) hit a jumper at the 9:17 mark.
Otterbein claimed their largest lead moments later as a 5-0 run gave them the 58-46 advantage. But the Panthers hung around with a deep ball by Mills that cut the deficit to nine with just over three minutes remaining. The Cardinals deemed to much as they hung on the for the victory.
Hanover returns to action on Sunday, December 29 as they take on Trine as part of the Walt Ballenger Classic. Tipp-off is set for 1 PM.