Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - In Senior Day action for the Hanover women's basketball team, the Panthers concluded their regular season with a 72-51 victory over Rose-Hulman.
With the win, HC concludes the regulation calendar with an 18-6 overall record and a 17-1 mark in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference to earn a share of the regular season crown with Transylvania. Meanwhile, Rose-Hulman falls to 7-18 with a 6-12 slate in the HCAC.
The Fightin' Engineers were the first team on the board with a three-pointer made on their first possession. Senior Kristin Mills (Cincinnati, Ohio) made a layup on the other end in response, but Rose-Hulman would strike back with 7:13 to go in the first to take a 5-2 lead. The Fightin' Engineers would go up 7-2 before senior Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) drained a trey to cut it to a 7-5 Panther deficit. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Hartman would make a steal and dish it to sophomore Lexi Riggles (Danville, Ind.) who would knock down a trey to put Hanover up 8-7 with just over five minutes to play.
A jumper from Hartman at 4:46 extended the run, and by 3:54, the Blue and Red had a 13-9 advantage. Free throws from senior Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.), followed by Riggles' third three of the quarter gave HC an 18-9 upper hand. With a little over a minute remaining, Hartman would bury another trey to push a 21-11 tally in Hanover's favor. At the end of the quarter, the Panthers led by this score, aided by a perfect five-for-five mark from behind the arc.
The second frame commenced with the Blue and Red's sixth consecutive made three, coming from Hartman with 8:30 on the clock. Though Rose-Hulman would net a three, HC responded with a Nall layup assisted by junior Savannah Courtney (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) to make it 26-16. Between 6:56 and 3:02, Rose-Hulman embarked on a 10-2 run, to bring the score to 26-23. The run was stymied with a three from Nall, which kicked off a 7-2 HC run that ended the half, giving them a 33-25 advantage.
After the half, the Panthers went on a 7-2 run to take a 40-27 lead at the 8:04 mark, capped by a put-back bucket from Nall on an offensive board. The run was aided by a pair of steals from Courtney, whose pair of takeaways led to four of the seven points in the string. Another Nall lay-in gave Hanover a 42-27 advantage, before Rose-Hulman responded. Back-to-back makes from Hartman, including a three at 5:16, put HC ahead 47-29. The Fightin' Engineers rattled off five unanswered points to bring the score to 49-34, before HC closed the quarter with six straight points, capped by a jumper from freshman Callie Wilder (North Vernon, Ind.) to help Hanover to a 55-34 upper hand entering the fourth.
Inside the first minute of the fourth frame, Rose-Hulman scored five straight points to cut their deficit to 55-39, and on a three around 8:00 to go, they brought the score to a 55-42. However, the run was cooled when Nall knocked down a three with just under seven minutes to play. This started a 9-0 run for the Blue and Red, which was bookended by a Nall jumper. At 2:53, Hartman hit yet another deep ball to secure the victory.
In the afternoon, Katie Hartman netted career-highs in points (24) and made three-pointers (6). Nall added 20 points and nine rebounds, while Mills put up four points and one assist. Senior Brooke Todd (Vevay, Ind.) had two points and two assists, while senior Amanda Butler (Bloomfield, Ind.) recorded one rebound and one assist. Riggles rounded out the trio in double figures with a career-best 11 points, with nine coming on a three, three-pointers in the first quarter. Courtney corralled five boards and team-highs in assists (5) and steals (4).
As a squad, Hanover shot 48.3 percent from the field, including 11-of-22 (50%) from three-point range. In addition, they won the battle on the boards by a 34-30 margin, as well as the turnover battle by a 19-14 tally. Off of 19 giveaways from the Fightin' Engineers, the Blue and Red notched 20 points.
HC holds the no.2 seed in the HCAC Tournament, and will play on Saturday, February 29, taking on the winner of Earlham and Franklin, which will take place at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 25.