Seniors Katie Gahimer (Greensburg, Ind.) and Natalie Morse (Mitchell, Ind.) each scored a season-high 13 points to lead the Hanover College women’s basketball team to their fourth consecutive victory, topping Bluffton University (Ohio), 84-69. The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference match-up was held Saturday, Jan. 5, in Collier Arena.
Gahimer added six rebounds and Morse matched her career best with six assists as the Panthers improved to 10-3 overall and 4-2 in league play.
Junior forward Elyse Weddle (Bloomfield, Ind.) sank three consecutive lay-ups as the Panthers jumped out to an early 14-7 lead at the 14:10 mark.
The Panthers continued build a steady lead behind Shauna Watson’s (Fort Wayne, Ind.) six first-half assists. Watson’s fast-break lay-up gave Hanover its largest lead in the first period at 36-20 with 3:16 remaining.
Gahimer corralled a Katie Brewer (Jamestown, Ind.) miss to convert a lay-up just as time expired, giving the Panthers a 38-26 lead at intermission.
Hanover hit 16-of-39 shots (41.0%) and were a perfect 5-of-5 from the charity stripe in the first half.
Hanover appeared ready to run away with the game in the second half as sophomore guard Alicia Hopkins (Columbus, Ind.) and Morse scored 10 points in the first three minutes.
Morse converted an acrobatic lay-up, forcing a Beaver timeout at the 17:33 mark as the lead had grown to 17 (46-29).
A Weddle bucket pushed the lead to 58-36 with 11:37, before Mikayla Coburn sank three consecutive free-throws to spark a 13-3 Beaver run. Coburn scored seven of her 11 points during this run.
The teams traded buckets as Bluffton threatened to shrink the Hanover lead to single-digits with 5:32 left in the game.
Hanover season scoring leader, forward Courtney Prater (Anderson, Ind.), who had had been held to only two points, exploded for ten points in the final five minutes to secure the Panther victory.
Sixteen Hanover players saw action, with 13 cracking the scoring column.
Hopkins collected a game-high six steals, along with 12 points.
Two other Bluffton players reached double-digits. Forward Brooke Ruffer scored a game-high 16 points, while also grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds. Kaitlyn Pennekamp scored 12 points off the bench.
Hanover out-rebounded Bluffton 42-40 and forced 24 turnovers. Lead by Hopkins, the Panther snagged 14 steals.
Hanover shot 45.8 percent (33-of-72), while holding Bluffton (6-7; 1-5 HCAC) to 39.7 percent (23-of-58) from the field and 4-of-17 (23.5%) from three-point range.
Published Saturday, January 5, 2013