Panthers hold off Spartans with late free throws

Hanover College’s women’s basketball team used five free throws in the final 20 seconds to hold off Manchester University, 68-65, in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference clash, Saturday, Jan. 26, in North Manchester, Ind.

Sophomore guard Alicia Hopkins (Columbus, Ind.) made two free throws with three seconds remaining to nudge Hanover ahead 68-65. Manchester’s three-point effort at the buzzer was off the mark to seal the Panthers’ seventh win in the squad’s last eight outings against the Spartans.

With its fifth straight triumph, Hanover raises its record to 15-4 overall and 9-3 in the HCAC. The effort marks the program’s sixth consecutive season with 15 or more wins.

Manchester, meanwhile, lost for the fourth time in its last five games to drop to 7-12 overall and 6-6 in the Heartland Conference.

Hanover trailed by as many as nine points (19-10) in the first half before rallying to grab a 29-26 lead at the intermission.

The Panthers eventually led by nine points (58-49) with fewer than three minutes to play before Manchester made a closing charge.

The Spartans’ Erynn Meiklejohn drilled a three-pointer and Janelle Moss added two free throws to trim Hanover’s lead to 58-54 with two minutes to go.

Sophomore guard Shauna Watson (Fort Wayne, Ind.) converted a three-point play to boost the Panthers’ cushion to 61-54 with 1:57 left and the squad carried a 63-58 lead into the final minute.

Manchester pulled within 63-61 on Hannah Field’s three-pointer with 44 seconds to play.

Fouled while snagging a rebound, senior forward Katie Gahimer (St. Paul, Ind.) hit two free throws to put Hanover on top 65-61 with 20 seconds on the clock.

Field made 1-of-2 free throws to keep it a one-possession spread (65-62) with 10 seconds to go.

Watson countered with 1-of-2 from the stripe with eight seconds left to give the Panthers a 66-62 lead.

Jaimie Childress nailed a three-pointer with three seconds to play to set up Hopkins’ game-sealing free throws.

Senior forward Courtney Prater (Anderson, Ind.) led all scorers with 23 points. Hopkins had 11, while freshman guard Ashley Malloy added 10 in 14 minutes off Hanover’s bench.

Field finished with 12 points and Childress chipped in 11 to lead Manchester.

Hanover at Manchester statistics