HARD DRIVER: Hanover freshman Ashley Malloy (with ball) blows through Mount St. Joseph defender Heidi McManus (2) as the Lions’ Madie Long (5) trails the play during Wednesday’s game at Collier Arena. Malloy, who is from Salem, scored a team-high 13 points to lead the Panthers to a 75-55 win in the first home game in more than a month. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
HARD DRIVER: Hanover freshman Ashley Malloy (with ball) blows through Mount St. Joseph defender Heidi McManus (2) as the Lions’ Madie Long (5) trails the play during Wednesday’s game at Collier Arena. Malloy, who is from Salem, scored a team-high 13 points to lead the Panthers to a 75-55 win in the first home game in more than a month. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
It certainly wasn't a pretty win, but after a month on the road, Hanover's women will gladly take it.

The Panthers turned the basketball over 29 times and shot just 31 percent from the floor, but a nearly 5 to 1 advantage in free throws was enough to power Hanover to a 75-55 win over Mount St. Joseph Wednesday at Collier Arena.

"I guess that's the bottom line. We got the win," Hanover coach Molly Jones said. "It was a little bit ugly, but we did the things that we set out to do."

Hanover had not played a game in its own gym since Dec. 1 or even in its own region of the country in two weeks after a road trip to California and Alabama.

Finally back home, the Panthers took care of business after a sluggish first 15 minutes. Hanover trailed 20-19 with 5:35 left in the first half, but outscored the Mount 16-4 to take an 11-point lead into halftime and never looked back en route to its ninth win of the season.

The key to the win was Hanover's success at the free-throw line. The Panthers went to the line a whopping 47 times in the game and hit 33 for a 70 percent clip.

The Lions, on the other hand, were just 7-of-16 from the line while committing 32 turnovers in the game. The Mount shot a better percentage from the floor, 36.9 percent (24-for-65), but the Lions couldn't overcome the 33-7 disparity in free throws or an 0-of-14 performance from 3-point range.

"We knew they were going to have a little trouble defending us and that they would foul us. We got to the line and actually made them," Jones said. "We hit twice as many free throws as they attempted and that was the difference. I'm sure (Mount coach Ashley Bland) won't be too happy to see that."

Once Hanover (9-3, 3-2 Heartland) took the double-digit lead at the half and it never let go. The Panthers' lead dipped below 10 only once the rest of the way, and was 20 or more the final five minutes of the contest.

Thanks to the big lead, Jones was able to clear her bench and all 16 players in uniform saw action with 12 breaking into the scoring column.

"We got a chance to play a lot of players and that's important for us, especially down the road," Jones said. "I was really pleased with the way (freshman) Ashley Malloy played. She is getting better each time out and tonight she was very aggressive on both ends of the floor."

Malloy, who is from Salem, scored 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 at the free-throw line to lead Hanover. Katie Gahimer, a senior from St. Paul, had 12 points and six rebounds while Courtney Prater, a senior from Anderson and the reigning HCAC player of the week, had 11 points and seven rebounds.

One player back in action was sophomore Kelsey Jones, the coach's daughter and former standout player at Southwestern High School. The younger Jones, who spent last year at Butler University before transferring to Hanover this year, appeared in just two games before injuring her knee and undergoing surgery.

On Wednesday, Jones returned to the floor and had two points in three minutes of action. She also had two rebounds.

"Kelsey will get better once she's had a chance to get back into it. She really hasn't played in over a year," coach Jones said. "It was great to see her get back out there."

Freshman Tara Davis led Mount St. Joseph with 17 points and seven rebounds. Melanie Monahan added 10 points.

Hanover gets to play a second-straight game at home when the Panthers host Bluffton on Saturday. While Jones appreciated her team's month-long road trip, she's glad to be home.

"I'm happy that we did it (the road trip). We got to see a lot of different styles and played some really good teams. It was good for us," Jones said. "But it's nice to be back in a routine - any routine. Looking at the itinerary every 10 minutes was getting old."

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WEDNESDAY'S WOMEN'S GAME

at Hanover

HANOVER 75, MOUNT ST. JOSEPH 55

MOUNT ST. JOSEPH (3-9, 2-3 HCAC) - Dennis 17, (g)Monahan 10, (g)Castleberry 6, (g)Mosler 6; Mentzel 5, (f)Blevins 4, Donald 3, (g)McManus 2, Long 2, Hartfiel 0, Walsh 0, Brown 0.



HANOVER (9-3, 3-2 HCAC) - Malloy 13, (f)Gahimer 12, (f)Prater 11, Weddle 7, Morse 7, (g)Hopkins 6, Caudill 5, DeMoss 4, (g)Watson 3, (g)Bischoff 3, Pahren 2, Jones 2, Taylor 0, Tubb 0, Brewer 0, Dilley 0.



Halftime - Hanover 35-24. 3-Point Goals - Mount St. Joseph 0, Hanover 4 (Malloy 2, Morse 1, Gahimer 1). Rebounds - Mount St. Joseph 38 (Dennis 7), Hanover 47 (Prater 7). Assists - Mount St. Joseph 10 (McManus 3), Hanover 11 (Hopkins 3, Watson 3). Total Fouls - Mount St. Joseph 32, Hanover 16. Free Throws - Mount St. Joseph 7-16, Hanver 33-47. Fouled Out - Mount St. Joseph: Mosler. Next Game - Hanover hosts Bluffton Saturday.