Freshman Jessie Davidson (Lexington, Ind.) tallied career highs in points (19) and rebounds (10), earning her first career double-double, as the Hanover College women’s basketball team defeated Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opponent Defiance College (Ohio), 72-62. Davidson added to her game-high scoring spree by collecting four steals and tying game-high honors with three assists.
Junior Alicia Hopkins (Columbus, Ind.) added 18 points and a game-high seven steals, while classmate Caitlin Bischoff (Atlanta, Ind.) tallied nine rebounds, nine points and five steals as the Panthers improve to 3-1 in Heartland Conference play and 5-6 overall.
Both teams struggled to score early, with Defiance’s Erica Smay hitting a three-pointer at the 18:32 mark to break the scoring deadlock.
Hanover answered with a quick bucket in the paint by senior forward Elyse Weddle (Bloomfield, Ind.) and three consecutive lay-ups by Hopkins to take an early 8-3 lead.
The Yellow Jackets hit two consecutive three-pointers at the 14:42 mark to negate the Panther lead and the teams traded buckets for the next few possessions with neither team able to pull ahead.
With 7:06 remaining in the first period, Defiance center Kelsey Tietje sparked a 21-12 run, scoring eight points during the run to give the Yellow Jackets a 41-32 advantage at intermission.
Defiance shot 58.6 percent (17-of-29) from the floor during the first half, while holding Hanover to 23.8 percent (10-of-42).
The second half, however, was a much different story.
Hanover limited Defiance to 7-of-29 (24.1 percent), forcing 17 turnovers and collecting 12 steals, to stifle the Yellow Jacket offense. Hanover forced 31 turnovers and grabbed 20 steals in total.
The Panthers started the second half with a much different intensity, holding Defiance scoreless for nearly nine minutes while cranking out 19 points, many off of turnovers.
Hopkins scored five points during this run, while Davidson added six to put Hanover ahead 51-43 with 11:07 to play.
Tietje again sparked a Defiance rally, scoring inside and hitting the ensuing free throw to pull within eight points.
Smay followed a Hanover foul with two made free throws and Erica King scored on the next play as the Yellow Jackets creeped within three (51-48) with 10:11 remaining.
Sophomore guard Ashley Malloy (Salem, Ind.) came off the bench to hit a key three-pointer on the next play to quiet the Yellow Jacket surge.
A Malloy bucket in the lane pushed the Hanover lead to 58-50 at the 5:58 mark before Defiance’s Ashley Birchmeier answered with five straight points to pull within 58-55 with 4:37 to play.
Defiance was unable to hold the scoring spree and Hanover pulled ahead on a Shauna Watson (Concordia, Ind.) jumper at the 4:05 mark.
Defiance fouled Davidson on the next possession and she hit both free throws to gain a 62-56 two-possession advantage. Davidson was a perfect 10-10 from the line.
Hanover forced a turnover on the next play and Hopkins scored in the paint to put the game out of reach.
Defiance drops to 3-8; 0-4 HCAC despite out-rebounding the Panthers 50-39 behind a Heartland Conference record 26 grabs by Tietje.
Tietje also scored 18 points, while Birchmeier and Erica King added 12 and 15 off the bench.
Hanover shot 21-of-71 (29.6 %) and 25-of-34 (73.5 %) from the charity stripe.
Defiance shot 24-of-58 (41.4 %) and 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from the line.
Published Saturday, January 4, 2014