Defense dominates for women's basketball in 50-37 win over Centre

Avery Chezem

WILMINGTON, Ohio – A stifling defensive effort led the Hanover women's basketball team to a 50-37 triumph over Centre (Ky.) in the opening game of the Wilmington-hosted Fred Raizk Memorial Tournament Saturday evening.

The Panthers advance to 2-1 with the win and will face the host-Quakers at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25. Hanover never trailed in the win, allowing fewer than 40 points for the third time in the past two seasons. Prior to the start of the 2017-18 campaign, the last time HC conceded fewer than 40 points was in 2011.

A pair of Panthers in juniors Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) and Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) posted double-doubles. Motter recorded her third double-double in as many games, posting 13 points and a season-high 17 rebounds. The junior also added HC's only two blocks.

Nall pitched in with a team-high 14 points and 10 rebounds. The junior tied for the team-high in steals as well with two.

Senior Avery Chezem (Loogootee, Ind.) provided 10 points and two steals off the bench, as the three upperclassmen combined for nearly 70 percent of Hanover's scoring. Chezem was one of three players with multiple assists, with junior Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio) leading the Blue and Red with three helpers.

Hanover got off to a strong start defensively, holding the Colonels (3-1) scoreless over the first 6:22 to jump out to a 7-0 advantage. The Panthers forced Centre into a miss on its first nine shot attempts. The Blue and Red led 14-4 after the first quarter of play.

The Hanover defense continued to reach havoc in the second quarter, holding the Colonels scoreless over the first six-plus minutes of play again. The Panthers though, were outscored 9-4 over the final 3:47, but still led by double digits, 23-13, at the intermission.

Both sides finished the first 20 minutes of play with a sub-.300 field goal percentage. Motter had already secured her third double-double of the campaign with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first half.

After doubling up Centre in the third quarter, 18-9, Hanover led 41-22 heading into the final 10-minute period. Chezem did most of her offensive damage in the third frame, tallying eight points on 3-of-5 shooting.

Back-to-back three pointers to open the fourth quarter had Centre within 13 points, 41-28, with 8:39 remaining. The Blue and Red though, pushed the lead to as many as 20 points on numerous occasions, as they responded CC's spurt with a 7-0 run to go in front 48-28 with 3:05 left to play.

Despite a season-low shooting percentage, Hanover was able to rely on its defense, which held Centre to a .232 shooting clip. The Panthers also forced 19 turnovers, which resulted in 17 points.

The Blue and Red will look to secure its first winning streak of the young season when they take on Wilmington at 3 p.m. Sunday, on Hermann Court.

Contact: Tyler Jester