Second half spoils championship bid

Hanover College’s women’s basketball team lost to Franklin College, 64-44, in the championship game of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament. The six-team event’s finale was played Sunday, Feb. 26, in Franklin, Ind.

Junior center Courtney Prater (Anderson, Ind.) scored a game-high 26 points and junior guard Natalie Morse (Mitchell, Ind.) added nine to pace Hanover. Both players were named to the HCAC’s all-tournament team.

The Panthers cap the season with a 21-5 overall record. The effort marked the program’s third consecutive 20-win season and fourth straight appearance in the league’s championship game.

Sarah Condra posted 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead Franklin to its second conference tournament crown in the past three seasons. Annie Tarkington chipped in nine points and six assists for the Grizzlies (25-2).

Prater scored 17 of her 26 points in the first half to help Hanover grab a 27-26 lead at the intermission. The Panthers, however, shot just 16.1 percent from the field in the second period (5-of-31) and totaled only 17 points as a team in the final 20 minutes of action.

Morse drained two three-pointers and Prater had three baskets to propel Hanover to a 16-6 lead in the opening eight minutes.

Condra scored six points, and Tarkington and Krista Schott hit consecutive three-pointers, as Franklin eventually crept within a point (27-26) in the final minute of the first period.

Prater scored to give the Panthers a 29-28 lead two minutes into the second half before Franklin mounted a game-changing run.

Hanover missed 10 straight field goals during a seven-minute span. The Grizzlies used the drought to go on a 15-2 run and grab a 43-31 lead with 11:15 left in the contest.

Prater hit two free throws and senior guard Kendall Withered (Madison, Ind.) scooped in a bucket to cut the margin to eight points (43-35) with 10 minutes to play.

Tarkington and Monica Schwab countered with back-to-back three-pointers to boost Franklin’s lead to 49-35.

The Panthers would not get within single digits the rest of the way.

Hanover finished the contest 15-of-61 from the floor (24.6%). The Panthers hit 3-of-22 attempts from behind the arc (13.6%).

Prater pulled down seven rebounds and Morse had six boards for Hanover, which was outrebounded 52-38.

Franklin made 22-of-56 field goals (39.3%), including 7-of-16 three-pointers (43.8%). Condra was 11-of-18 from the charity stripe and the Grizzlies hit 13-of-20 free throws as a team.

Hanover at Franklin statistics