DOWNTOWN: Hanover’s Alicia Hopkins shoots a 3-pointer over the out0stretched arms of Transylvania’s Nicole Coffman (23) as teammate Kelsey Jones watches during Wednesday’s game at Collier Arena. Hopkins nearly had a triple-double but it wasn’t enough as Hanover fell 61-55. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
DOWNTOWN: Hanover’s Alicia Hopkins shoots a 3-pointer over the out0stretched arms of Transylvania’s Nicole Coffman (23) as teammate Kelsey Jones watches during Wednesday’s game at Collier Arena. Hopkins nearly had a triple-double but it wasn’t enough as Hanover fell 61-55. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Hanover's struggles from the free throw line cost the Panthers a chance at victory in a 61-55 loss to Transylvania in women's basketball Wednesday at Collier Arena.

The Panthers made just 7-of-15 from the line for the game and missed four foul shots in the final three minutes. That performance, coupled with just 30 percent shooting from the floor (21-of-69), proved to be fatal.

Still, Hanover coach Molly Jones wasn't too upset with the loss, especially considering that the Panthers were on the wrong end of a 95-66 beatdown to Transy just four weeks ago.

"We had a great game-plan and we did a great job of executing it," Jones said. "If we had hit a few more shots we may have won this game. I'm disappointed, but we played well."

The loss pushes Hanover down to at least the No. 3 seed in next week's Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. The Panthers are tied with Defiance at 11-6 in league play.

Hanover (17-7, 11-6 HCAC) played well enough to lead in the first half but in what would be a microcosm of the game, still found itself trailing by four at halftime.

A putback by freshman Jade Tubb off a missed free throw gave Hanover its only lead of the game, 22-21, with 2:33 left in the first half.

But three turnovers down the stretch led to an Alex McKenzie 3-pointer and a Nicole Coffman jumper to give Transy a 26-22 halftime lead.

A big reason for Hanover's success was its defensive effort on Transylvania's top two scorers. The Panthers executed a triangle-and-two on the Pioneers' Coffman and Katelyn Smith and held the pair to a combined 17 points in the game, nearly 20 under their average.

"We did a great job in that triangle and two. Smith and Coffman only had two each at halftime and that was our goal," Jones said.

Transylvania (19-5, 15-2 HCAC) finally seemed to take control of the game in the second half when the Pioneers went on a 20-9 run to take their largest lead of the game at 12 points with 9:42 to play.

But Hanover rallied, led by senior Katie Gahimer who set career-highs in both points (19) and rebounds (13) while recording her first career double-double.

Gahimer hit back-to-back baskets to pull the Panthers back to within eight. Freshman Kelsey Block then drilled a 3-pointer to make it a five-point game (48-43).

Transy's Alex Botkin answered with a layup but Gahimer scored again on the other end to keep the margin at five. Shauna Watson then converted a Transy turnover into a layup to make it a three-point game (50-47) with 7:05 to play.

Hanover kept chipping away and eventually pulled to within two on a Courtney Prater layup with 2:51 left. Elyse Weddle followed moments later with a free throw to make it a one-point game at 54-53.

Weddle actually was at the line with a chance to tie the game but missed her first free throw attempt. Moments later, the junior went back to the line and missed both shots that would have given the Panthers the lead.

Hanover hung around but Transy got five points over three different possessions by McKenzie to pull ahead by six. Watson got two back on free throws with 20 seconds to go but Madisen Webb iced the game at the line for the Pioneers in the closing seconds.

"Shooting has been something that we have struggled with all season, unfortunately," Jones said. "Forty percent seems to be the magic number. If we shoot 40 percent we win games. If we're below that, more often than not we lose. And we hit 30 tonight."

Gahimer's big game came on a night when the Panthers' top two guns, Prater and Alicia Hopkins, struggled against Transy's defense. Prater scored eight points and had 13 rebounds while Hopkins narrowly missed a triple-double with 10 points, eight rebounds and eight steals.

"I was really pleased with Katie Gahimer. She stepped up big tonight," Jones said. "That is something that we need. Courtney is seeing double- and triple-teams inside and we have to have somebody who can step up and pick up the slack. Katie did that tonight."

Botkin led Transylvania with 17 points and 14 rebounds while Webb scored 16. Coffman finished with 11 and McKenzie had 10.

The Pioneers shot only 34 percent (23-of-69) from the floor and were out-rebounded 50-47. But the two extra field goals, coupled with an 11-of-19 (57.9 percent) night from the line proved to be enough.

With the win Transylvania clinches a share of the HCAC regular-season championship and the Pioneers can secure the No. 1 seed with a win or a Franklin loss on Saturday.

Hanover hosts Rose-Hulman on Saturday as part of women's-men's doubleheader and Jones said her team has more than just playing well on its mind.

"The No. 1 thing for us is that we want to keep that three seed," Jones said. "But we also want to take some momentum into the tournament next week. It's a big game for us. It's senior night and there will be a lot of emotion. We want that win."



at Hanover


TRANYSLVANIA (19-5, 15-2 HCAC) - (f)Botkin 17, (g)Webb 16, (g)Coffman 11, (f)McKenzie 19, (g)Smith 6, Lucas 1, Moreland 0, Dobson 0, Thomas 0, Colliver 0.

HANOVER (17-7, 11-6 HCAC) - (f)Gahimer 19, (g)Hopkins 10, (f)Prater 8, (g)Morse 5, Tubb 5, (g)Watson 4, Block 3, Weddle 1, Malloy 0, Caudill 0, Brewer 0, Bischoff 0, Pahren 0.

Halftime - Transylvania 26, Hanover 22. 3-Point Goals - Transylvania 4 (Webb 2, McKenzie 1, Coffman 1), Hanover 6 (Gahimer 3, Morse 1, Block 1, Tubb 1). Rebounds - Transylvania 47 (Botkin 14), Hanover 50 (Gahimer 13, Prater 13). Assists - Transylvania 9 (Webb 3), Hanover 11 (Gahimer 2, Morse 2, Hopkins 2, Watson 2). Turnovers - Transylvania 20, Hanover 24. Total Fouls - Transylvania 19, Hanover 19. Free Throws - Transylvania 11-19 (58%), Hanover 7-15 (47%). Fouled Out - Transylvania: McKenzie. Next Game - Transylvania hosts Bluffton Saturday. Hanover hosts Rose-Hulman Saturday.