Panthers enter final week of the regular season looking to improve on current HCAC position

Claire Cromer looks for an opening on an inbound pass


HANOVER, Ind. – With the final week of the regular season upon us, the Hanover women’s basketball team will be in search of two victories to improve upon its HCAC Tournament seeding.

The Panthers (12-11, 10-6 HCAC) clinched a spot in the HCAC tournament after earning a split in two conference games last week, and currently sit in a tie for fourth place with Franklin.

With HC still unsure what seed they will be in next week’s conference tournament, there is some clarity on the situation. Hanover will fall somewhere in between the Nos. 3-6 seeds, which means they will play in the opening round, next Tuesday, Feb. 21. If HC is the third or fourth seed, they will host an opening round game and if they are one of the final two teams to get in, they will travel for the opening contest.

The Panthers are coming off a week that saw them drop a road overtime thriller at Franklin 70-63, before picking up a 93-71 home victory over Earlham on Saturday.

Offense was not an issue last Saturday as six players scored in double figures, as HC posted a new season high for points in a game this season. The 93 points is also tied for the most points in a game under current head coach John Jones. Hanover recorded 93 points on two separate occasions last year.

The Blue and Red received double-digit scoring efforts from three starters, as well as three bench players, including freshman Audrey Wetzel (Columbus, Ind.), who totaled 16 points. Classmate Maleha Motter (Danville, Ind.) and sophomore Claire Cromer (Wabash, Ind.) added 11 and 12 points off the bench respectively, as HC outscored the Quakers 55-15 in bench points.

In the starting lineup, freshman Katie Hartman (Madison, Ind.) posted back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts last week. Junior Allison Nash (Speedway, Ind.) and Alexis Nall (Mount Vernon, Ind.) joined Hartman in double figures on Saturday.

Nash and Nall are the top two scorers for HC this season, as the pair is averaging 10.7 and 10.0 points per game respectively. Both players also rank among the top five in the HCAC in field goal percentage, shooting around 50 percent.

Motter paces the Panthers in rebounding, grabbing 6.7 per contest. She is also among the HCAC’s best in free throw percentage, posting a .805 shooting clip at the charity stripe.

This week, Hanover will host Mount St. Joseph at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the final home regular season game of the 2016-17 campaign, before traveling to face Bluffton at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, in the regular season finale.

The Panthers defeated MSJ back on Jan. 11, 71-52, and fell at home to Bluffton, 86-81, on Jan. 14.

Contact: Tyler Jester

See more news.