Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - In a contest that saw its fair share of runs and momentum swings for both squads, the Hanover women's basketball team secured a 70-64 win over Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Franklin on Wednesday evening.
The Panthers (13-6, 12-1 HCAC) began the contest with a three pointer from senior Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio) that opened up scoring with just over 30 seconds gone by in the game. After a pair of baskets that put the Grizzlies (11-8, 7-6 HCAC) up 4-3 with 8:38 on the clock, senior Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) responded nailing a trey to give HC a 6-4 advantage. A pair of free throws from senior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) extended this to an 8-4 margin, before the Grizzlies knotted it up at 10 points apiece at the 3:49 mark. From here, the Blue and Red embarked on a 7-0 run, which put the tally at 17-10 in favor of Hanover after one quarter.
Not to be sunk early, the Grizzlies clawed their way back into the bout with a string of 15 unanswered points and took a 25-17 upper hand with 5:30 until halftime. HC answered, with makes from junior Savannah Courtney (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) and senior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) that cut the Panther deficit to 27-22 with 4:00 to go in the second frame. Franklin would respond with a layup to go back up by seven, until a pair of threes from Hartman and sophomore Lexi Riggles (Danville, Ind.) brought the Blue and Red within one possession at 29-28. The two units went scoreless until the break, leaving Franklin with the lead after two periods.
To begin the third, Nall hit a layup at 9:45 to give Hanover a 30-29 lead, before back-to-back buckets from Franklin put them ahead by a 33-30 margin. The Blue and Red responded with a spree of seven unanswered points, including five from Hartman. This gave them a 37-33 lead with 7:20 in the quarter; the Grizzlies would reel it back in within one point at 39-38 with 5:30 on the clock, and with 3:23 to go regained the lead by a 44-43 tally. An 8-4 Hanover run to end the frame swung the tide back in their favor.
In the opening two minutes of the fourth, Franklin rattled off five points to take a 53-51 lead. Nall would convert on a pair of free throws at the 7:30 mark as well as the 6:35 point, with the latter helping HC to regain a 55-53 advantage. The Grizzlies answered to tie it up at 55 apiece, and regained the lead before subsequent dish from Todd to Nall helped HC to go up 58-57 with exactly five minutes to play.
Following a media timeout, Todd sank a jumper to put the Panthers up 60-57 with 4:11 on the clock. A bucket from Nall at 2:42 aided the Blue and Red to a five-point lead, before a Franklin trey brought the score to 62-60 with two and a half minutes remaining. On the ensuing HC possession, as the shot clock hit zero, Courtney hit a jump shot to put them up 64-60. Although Franklin responded with a two, Hanover answered with yet another dagger as the shot clock expired, this time from Mills with 43 ticks left. At this point, the Blue and Red held a 66-62 upper hand, and would retain their lead to the end of the contest.
On the night, Hanover posted a team-high 42.9 percent shooting from the field. However, the Blue and Red converted on 15 of their 18 foul shots, while allowing the Grizzlies just two attempts from the charity stripe. Moreover, HC assisted on 23 of their 24 makes, and won the turnover battle by an 18-14 tally.
The Panthers will return to action in a road matchup versus Earlham, with tipoff set for 2 p.m., Saturday, February 8.