Hanover rolls into HCAC championship

Hanover College’s women’s basketball team has punched its ticket to the program’s fourth consecutive appearance in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s post-season tournament championship. The Panthers defeated the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 85-47, in a semifinal game, Saturday, Feb. 25, in Franklin, Ind.

Hanover, now 21-4, will face host Franklin College in the league’s championship game at 2 p.m, Sunday, Feb. 26. The victor earns the HCAC’s automatic berth in the NCAA III national tournament.

Junior guard Katie Brewer (Jamestown, Ind.) matched her career high with 17 points off the bench – all in the second half - to spark Hanover to its 10th consecutive win against the Engineers.

Junior guard Natalie Morse (Mitchell, Ind.) had 12 points and freshman guard Alicia Hopkins (Columbus, Ind.) added 11 for the Panthers.

Hanover led 19-16 midway through the opening period before senior guard Kendall Withered (Madison, Ind.) drained a three-pointer to ignite a 9-0 run. The burst bumped the Panthers’ cushion to 28-16 with five minutes left in the half.

Hanover held a 33-23 advantage at the break, then started the second period with another 9-0 run to grab a 42-23 advantage just one minute into the half.

The Panthers’ defense, which caused 27 turnovers, held Rose-Hulman scoreless during a decisive eight-minute stretch. In the key span, six different Hanover players scored to fuel a 17-0 run which increased the Panthers’ lead to 63-30 with nine minutes left on the clock.

Withered later made her second three-pointer and Brewer followed with eight consecutive points to eventually stretch Hanover’s lead to 38 points (82-44) with three minutes to play.

Alisa Dickerson posted a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds to pace Rose-Hulman. Kelsey Ploof added 11 points for the Engineers, which close the season with a 9-18 record.

Hanover vs. Rose-Hulman statistics