Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - Behind a balanced scoring attack, the Hanover women's basketball team claimed a 62-53 victory over the Bluffton Beavers.
The Panthers (7-5, 6-0 HCAC) came out of the gates looking comfortable, as they scored immediately following the Beavers early scoring. After Bluffton and HC traded buckets for their first two possessions, senior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) dished a pass to junior Savannah Courtney (Lawrenceburg, Ky.), who was able to convert on an and-one opportunity to put the Blue and Red up 7-4 with 8:19 left in the quarter. Subsequent makes from Courtney and senior Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio) acted as a precursor for the 13-1 Panther run that lasted from 5:46 to the end of the frame.
After Hanover secured a 25-7 lead in the first quarter, the two squads played a low-scoring, back-and forth affair for much of the second quarter. However, the Beavers mounted a 12-1 run in the final 4:44 of the half, which brought the score to 35-23 in favor of HC at halftime.
In the third quarter, Nall found her groove after a quiet first half. Through the first five minutes of the frame, Nall notched nine points, and by the quarter's end led the team with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Each team totaled 14 points in the period, leading to a 49-37 advantage for HC heading into the final 10 minutes.
During the fourth, it looked a few times as though Bluffton would mount a comeback. After HC had a 12-point upper hand to start the fourth, the Beavers came within eight points at 49-41 with 8:27 left. The Panthers staved off this attempt on back-to-back buckets from freshman Anna Bauer (Indianapolis, Ind.) and senior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.), which gave the Blue and Red a double-digit lead. Bluffton was not stymied, though, as they pulled within five points with 5:00 left in the game. Holding a 53-48 advantage, HC was finally able to close the Beavers out, allowing just five points to Bluffton in the remaining five minutes.
For the night, Nall paced the Panthers with 21 points and matched her season-high of 18 rebounds. Courtney notched her first double-double of the season, grabbing 10 boards and scoring 10 points. Senior Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) rounded out the trio in double figures with 10 points, including a two-of-three mark from beyond the arc. Mills would finish her night with nine points and five rebounds.
The Blue and Red will next take the floor when they travel to nationally ranked Transylvania (Ky.), with tip-off slated for 7 p.m., Wednesday, January 15.