Women’s basketball to welcome in Transylvania, Bluffton this week

Claire Cromer

Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter

HANOVER, Ind. - The Hanover women's basketball team will look to take advantage of having home floor this week, as they will play host to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rivals Transylvania (Ky.) and Bluffton (Ohio).

The Panthers will take the floor at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 23, to square off against the Pioneers and will conclude their week with a faceoff against the Beavers at 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26.

WEEK IN REVIEW: The Blue and Red, who are currently 12-5 overall, including 8-2 in league play, went 1-1 last week with games against Mount St. Joseph and Franklin. Against the Lions, Hanover narrowly lost a 70-69 thriller after junior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) converted on an and-one opportunity with 51 seconds to play.

The Panthers would follow this up on Saturday, Jan. 19, with a 91-66 win over Franklin. In the triumph, junior Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) racked up a career-high 26 points, including a four-of-five performance behind the arc. Motter added four steals and 13 rebounds, giving her 13 double-doubles this year. Overall, HC shot 48.4 percent (31-64) from the floor, with a .556 efficiency from three point range (10-18).

MOTTER MUSTERS SUCCESS: Maleha Motter has been one of the better all around performers in the HCAC, as she holds top-five numbers in both points per game and rebounds per game. Her 15.8 points per contest is the third-highest average in the conference, while her 12.1 boards per outing leads the league and is ninth-best in NCAA Division III.

Many of Motter's totals, particularly in the rebounding categories, are amongst the tops in the nation. Her rebounds per game clip is 19th in Division III, while her 206 total grabs slots 15th. Meanwhile, her 13 double-doubles are good for second in the nation. She has also totaled many of the best statistics from the free throw line, as she's posted 126 attempts at the line with 85 makes, putting her 18th and 22nd nationally in the respective categories.

Additionally, Motter earned her third career HCAC Player of the Week award for her play this past week. In games against Franklin (Ind.) and Mount St. Joseph (Ohio), she averaged 23.5 points to go along with 14 rebounds per contest.

AMAZING ALEXIS: Junior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) has kept a balance of volume and efficiency all season, as she heads HC with 17.3 points per game on 59 percent shooting. Her scoring average is second in the HCAC, while her field goal percentage leads all conference foes. On a national level, Nall slots 34th in field goal attempts (115) and ninth in made shots (59).

Nall has close to a double-double average as well, grabbing boards at a per-contest pace of 9.2. In her most recent action, a 91-66 win over Franklin, Nall notched 18 points, going five-for-seven from the field and seven-of-eight from the charity stripe. She also added seven rebounds to round out her 25 minutes.

THE OLD GUARD: The guards on the front lines, senior Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.), junior Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) and junior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) have each played some of their best basketball in different manners during the 2018-19 campaign.

For Cromer, she's produced her highs in assists per game (2.1), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4), and steals per game (2.5). One of her highlights came against Franklin on Jan. 19, when she dished a personal-record six assists in the victory. She also added 13 points in the matchup, making her one of four Panthers in double figures.

Hartman has continued her upward trend, with career-leading numbers in points per game (9.5), field goal percentage (.404), three-point shooting percentage (.401), rebounds (3.6), and steals (1.5). Her trend of success against the Grizzlies continued on Jan. 19, as she scored 17 points and added six rebounds. Hartman also hit three-of-five attempts from behind the arc. In the HCAC, Hartman's three-point percentage ranks third-highest.

Rounding out this trio is Todd, whose systemic approach to the game cannot go unnoticed. Her team-leading 3.4 dimes per contest is fourth in the HCAC. Moreover, her 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks sixth in the conference. On a career basis, Todd has bests in shooting efficiency (.456) and three-point shooting (.389) on the heels of 5.9 points per outing. On Dec. 8 at Bluffton, Todd had eight points on three-of-four shooting while assisting on eight makes.

SCOUTING TRANSYLVANIA: The Transylvania Pioneers sit at 15-2 overall with a 9-1 record in the HCAC. In the Blue and Red's trip to Transylvania on Dec. 5, the Pioneers captured an 84-62 win. This was one of Transylvania's nine victories on their home floor, a place they have not yet lost this year. Heading the Pioneers is junior Shelby Boyle, who averages 13.9 points and 8.2 boards per game. Boyle also adds a league-leading three-point percentage to her totals. Adding to the mix is senior Celia Kline, who heads Transylvania scoring at a clip of 14.6 points per contest.

The Pioneers and the Panthers have split the series each of the past three years, winning in the comfort of their respective arenas. The last regular season sweep came in the 2015-16 campaign, when Transylvania narrowly escaped Collier Arena with a 94-93 win on a buzzer-beating jumpshot.

SCOUTING BLUFFTON: The Bluffton Beavers hold a 6-11 mark that includes a 4-6 slate in conference action. On Dec. 8, the Beavers fell victim to a 73-50 triumph by Hanover. Bluffton has seen roadblocks on the road, as they are just 1-3 in interleague play when not on its home floor. Freshman Brianna Gillig averages 10.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, anchoring the Beavers, while junior Tj Mills is the leading scorer with 13.7 points per matchup.

Bluffton, up to the loss on Dec. 8, had won six straight over the Blue and Red, with their last loss coming on Dec. 31, 2014, a 96-86 win for the Panthers.

Contact: Tyler Jester