Written by Sports Information Student Assistant Jake Sipes-Salter
BLUFFTON, OHIO - In a game where the second quarter proved to be the deciding factor, the Hanover women's basketball team garnered a 69-46 victory over Bluffton.
With the triumph, the Blue and Red advance to 16-6 overall, with a 15-1 slate in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Meanwhile, the Bluffton Beavers fall to 12-11 with a 6-10 mark in the HCAC.
The Beavers started the contest off with a pair of threes from TJ Mills, which helped them to an early 6-2 lead with 8:19 remaining in the first frame. The Panthers responded with an 8-0 run, capped by a layup from senior Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) to take a 10-6 lead with 5:18 on the clock. TJ Mills would respond with her third trey of the quarter on the subsequent possession, but senior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) layed it in for a 12-9 advantage at 4:45.
The teams went back and forth for the next couple minutes, before another Nall layup gave HC a 16-12 lead at the 1:44 mark. The Beavers would respond with a pair of three-pointers, before junior Savannah Courtney (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) tied it up at 18-18 with less than thirty seconds to go in the quarter, capping the scoring.
The second period began with a 6-0 scoring string for HC, capped by a Nall trey to put them up 24-18 with 6:07 to go in the half. At 5:49, Bluffton hit a three of their own, but it was the only field goal the Hanover defense let up in the quarter. Overall, Hanover outscored the Beavers 16-4 in the frame to take a 34-22 advantage heading into halftime.
In the third, each squad stood virtually toe-to-toe in scoring with the Blue and Red edging Bluffton 17-15. At 7:09, a tip-in from Nall gave the Panthers a 44-26 lead, their largest of the period. A three from senior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) as the quarter buzzer sounded to give them a 51-37 advantage.
In the fourth, HC held their ground, as sophomore Lexi Riggles (Danville, Ind.) cashed in on a pair of threes for six points while freshman Lanette Blume (St. Anthony, Ind.) added five more off the bench.
Nall led all scorers with 20 points and added 10 rebounds, with Courtney contributing 14 points and eight boards. Hartman put up 15 points, while Todd led the squad with five assists and five steals.
As a team, Hanover shot 46 percent from the field including 6-for-12 from three. On the glass, HC outrebounded the Beavers 38 to 26, while winning the turnover margin 20 to 11. On those 20 Beaver giveaways, the Panthers scored 23 points.
The Blue and Red will next take the floor at 7 p.m., Wednesday, February 19, when they host conference-leader Transylvania.