Panthers outlast Manchester, 79-76

Hanover College’s women’s basketball team secured second place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s standings - and the No. 2 seed in the HCAC’s post-season tournament - with a 79-76 victory at Manchester University in the regular-season finale.

Junior guard Megan Caudill (Richmond, Ind.) hit two free throws with 11.6 seconds remaining and Manchester missed a pair of three-point attempts in the closing seconds to bring an end to the back-and-forth battle.

The squads were separated by more than two possessions for just two and one-half minutes in the entire game. Hanover held a one-possession lead for the final 4:17 and Manchester forged a tie twice in the closing 2:34.

Freshman guard Jessie Davidson (Lexington, Ind.) canned a three-pointer to nudge the Panthers ahead 77-74 with 1:29 on the clock.

The Spartans trimmed the lead to 77-76 after Alyssa Smith made a pair of free throws with 59 seconds left.

After a Hanover miss from long range, Manchester turned the ball over with 14 seconds on the clock to set up Caudill’s game-clinching appearance at the charity stripe.

Junior guard Alicia Hopkins (Columbus, Ind.) scored 18 points to spark Hanover to its 13th win in its last 15 games against the Spartans. Caudill posted 11 points and Davidson tallied 10 to reach double figures for her 16th straight outing.

The Panthers drilled a season-high 11 three-pointers and were 27-of-63 from the floor (42.9%). Hopkins hit a career-best four attempts from beyond the arc, while junior forward Caitlin Bischoff (Atlanta, Ind.) made three and finished with nine points.

Freshman center Jenna Meyer (Greensburg, Ind.) pulled down a season-high nine rebounds and senior forward Elyse Weddle (Bloomfield, Ind.) grabbed five. Hanover, however, was outrebounded by a 52-35 margin.

Justine Kruger notched 18 points and nine rebounds to lead Manchester, which slipped to 13-12 overall and 10-8 in the Heartland Conference.

Hanover at Manchester statistics