Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - The Hanover women's basketball team will look to continue its forward momentum as they prepare to tackle a pair of Heartland Collegiate Athletic conference rivals this week.
The Blue and Red will host a pair of home contests this week, beginning with Anderson at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, January 22. Then, on Saturday, January 25, HC will welcome Defiance at 1 p.m., in the first game of a men's and women's doubleheader.
HANOVER HEATING UP: The Panthers are currently riding an 8-6 overall record which includes a 7-1 mark in the HCAC, good for second in the conference standings. This squad has claimed victory in four of their last five outings, all against league foes. Most recently, the women garnered a 69-50 win over Earlham. A trio of HC starters scored 10-plus points for the third consecutive time, helping to provide equilibrium to the offense.
As a unit, HC is tied for the league lead in three point field goal percentage (.341), while ranking second in steals per game (11.1) and third in assists per game (14.6). Dishing dimes has proven critical to Hanover's success: they are 1-3 when assisting on less than 50 percent of their made field goals, while on the other hand they are 7-3 when assisting at a higher rate.
HOT HANDS: Senior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) paces the Panthers in scoring with 16.7 points per game, which is third-best in the HCAC. Nall is atop the conference in both field goal percentage (.535) and rebounds per game (10.2). In NCAA Division III, Nall's shooting clip ranks 38th, while her rebounding average sits in the top 100 nationally. In her most recent appearance against Earlham, Nall posted a team-high 19 points and grabbed seven boards.
For three consecutive bouts, junior Savannah Courtney (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) has worked herself into double figures. This past week, Courtney scored 13 points and lead HC with five assists against Transylvania, before scoring 11 points in the subsequent matchup against Bluffton. On the campaign, Courtney is averaging 9.7 points per game and 5.1 rebounds per game, while posting a collegiate-best 48.7 percent shooting from the floor.
In back-to-back showings, senior Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio) has scored 10 or more points for the first time this season. In the January 15 meeting with Transylvania, Mills had 15 points to tie a career high; she followed this up with 13 points and a personal-best eight rebounds on Jan. 18 versus Bluffton. On the season, Mills is averaging 9.0 points per game while adding three rebounds per outing.
SCOUTING ANDERSON: The Anderson Ravens will come into the contest with a 6-9 overall record, and a 2-6 slate in the HCAC. In their most recent action, the Ravens defeated Bluffton by a score of 60-47 on January 18. In the victory, Sophomore Payton Moore lead Anderson with 18 points and snatched all three Raven steals. During the 2019-20 campaign, Moore spearheads Anderson with 14.3 points per game, while averaging 6.9 rebounds per appearance. Junior Hannah Hawkins leads the Ravens on the glass with 7.7 rebounds per game, while adding 8.2 points. In the bout with the Beavers, Hawkins tallied 10 points and hauled in a team-high nine boards.
SCOUTING DEFIANCE: The Defiance Yellow Jackets are currently 5-10 overall and 4-4 in league play. The Yellow Jackets will begin their week by hosting Earlham at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, January 22, before ending their week at Collier Arena. On January 18, Defiance edged Mount St. Joseph 84-82 in triple overtime for their fourth league win this year. Heading the Yellow Jackets in scoring was freshman Taylor Steinbrunner, who had a career-high 21 points. Her fellow classmate, Briana Townley, also came through for Defiance with 17 points and 10 rebounds for the first collegiate double-double.