Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - Bolstered by a trio of starters in double figures, the Hanover women's basketball team was able to secure a 69-50 victory over Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Earlham on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers (8-6, 7-1 HCAC) were helped by a good start on defense, as they forced four Earlham (4-11, 3-5 HCAC) turnovers within the first five minutes of play. After a layup from senior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.), the Blue and Red took a 6-2 lead with 6:41 left in the first. The Quakers would go on a 5-2 scoring string to bring it to a narrow 8-7 Hanover edge, before senior Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) hit a deep two in response. From there, HC outscored Earlham 9-6 en route to a 19-13 lead at the end of the period.
The second frame began with a 8-2 Panther run, which put Hanover ahead 27-15 with 7:12 to go in the half. For the next three and a half minutes, the two squads went back and forth in scoring, putting the tally at 32-20 in favor of HC with 3:45 left before halftime. From here, until the break, the Blue and Red kept their advantage in the double digits. At one point, they went up by 18 points with a layup from senior Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio) that allowed Hanover a 39-21 lead. The Quakers, however, would round off five points in the final minute to close it to a 39-26 upper hand for Hanover.
The third quarter was highly contested, and for the first six and a half minutes of the half each team traded nine points. With around three and a half minutes remaining in the period, the Panthers held a 48-35 advantage. The Quakers came on their next possession and closed it to 48-37, but HC struck right back with layups on back-to-back trips down the floor, including from freshman Anna Bauer (Indianapolis, Ind.) to put Hanover on top 52-37 with 1:39 left in the third. Then, the Blue and Red capitalized with treys on two straight possessions to end the frame, with the second coming from senior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) at the third quarter buzzer to help Hanover to a 58-37 lead.
At the onset of the fourth frame, Earlham scored four straight points to cut their deficit to 58-41 with just under two minutes gone by in the quarter. However, the Panthers retained their lead, as they stifled any Quaker comeback with buckets of their own in response. The Quakers would outscore HC 13-11 in the period, but it would not prove enough as they ultimately fell.
Nall lead the Blue and Red in scoring with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting, while adding seven rebounds. Mills totaled 12 points on the night while leading HC with eight boards. Rounding out the trio in double figures was junior Savannah Courtney (Lawrenceburg, Ky.), who tallied 11 points, including a five-of-seven mark from the free throw line. Hartman and Todd would spearhead HC with five assists apiece. As a unit, Hanover outrebounded the Quakers 38-25, and on the offensive end assisted on 24 of their 26 made field goal attempts.
The Panthers will next take the floor in a showdown with the Anderson Ravens at Collier Arena, with tip-off slated for 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, January 22.