DEFIANCE, Ohio. – For the second time this season, the Hanover Panthers clawed out a victory over the Purple and Gold women’s basketball team. Defiance was able to overcome an 11-point second-half deficit to send the game into overtime, but Hanover took care of business in the extra period for an 88-77 road win.
The Panthers stay put at third in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings, as they up their record to 9-7, 7-3 HCAC. The loss for DC ends a three-game winning streak and drops its record to 7-10, 4-6 HCAC.
The Yellow Jackets jumped ahead early to start play. Freshman Ashley Williams (Leipsic, Ohio / Pandora-Gilboa) racked up five points in the first minute and a half of action to put Defiance up 7-2.
Just over four minutes later, a pair of free throws by senior Hannah Harshman (Ohio City, Ohio / Parkway) extended the home team’s advantage to nine at 15-6.
Then with 4:49 left in the first half, the Purple and Gold held its largest lead of the night at 29-18. But the Hanover high-scoring offense began to click and the Panthers went on a 13-2 spurt over the last five minutes of play to head into the locker room up 32-31.
After intermission, the Panthers came out of the gates just as hot as they ended the first period. Less than four minutes in, Hanover had pushed its lead to 11 at 46-35. The constant pressure from an aggressive defense forced four DC turnovers in the span, while the offense knocked down 6-of-8 shots.
Head coach Jessica (Cox) Morris was forced to use a timeout to settle down her squad that was a bit shaken. But it the end, it paid off as the Yellow Jackets responded with a 16-4 run that put them back on top 51-50 with just under 10 minutes remaining on the clock.
The Purple and Gold and the Panthers continued to battle on every possession. But an Erica King (Wauseon, Ohio / Pettisville) three-pointer with 120 seconds left put DC ahead five at 69-64. Unfortunately, the Jackets were not able to hold on to the lead.
Hanover had been forcing Defiance turnovers all night long, but three in the last 1:14 of play were critical mistakes that cost the home team. HC recorded five quick points off of a pair of layups and a make from the charity stripe to tie the game up at 69-69.
The Panthers even had a chance to go on top with 24 seconds to go, but missed two from the free throw line giving the Purple and Gold a final shot to win the game. Unfortunately, a Kim Bingley (Ottawa, Ohio / Ottawa-Glandorf) layup attempt did not fall and the two teams went into overtime.
In the extra five minutes of play it was all Hanover, as it notched 19 points to DC’s 8. The Panthers were just too much for DC, as they escaped the Hive with a big 88-77 HCAC road win.
It was the first time this season that the Yellow Jackets had lost when scoring 70 or more points. Their increased scoring was much ado to outstanding rebounding on the afternoon. DC hauled in 58 rebounds, including a season-high 24 offensive boards to give it the advantage on the glass 58-42.
The high rebound total led to DC attempting its most shots in a game all season. However, it was only able to connect on 29 of its 75 tries (38.7 percent), while HC shot similar at 26-of-72 (36.1).
Defiance’s weak spots on the night came at the free throw line and in the turnover column. The Purple and Gold went 13-of-20 (65.0) from the charity stripe, while the Panthers were solid at 25-of-30 (83.3). The Jackets then turned the ball over 30 times to Hanover’s 17.
For scoring, DC posted six players in double figures. King, Zachrich and freshman Kelsey Tietje (Deshler, Ohio / Patrick Henry) all scored 14 to lead the home team. King’s point total on the night moved her into 15th on the all-time Defiance scoring list. Williams and Harshman then added 12 and 10, respectively.
Having the biggest night of any Yellow Jacket was Bingley. The senior posted her first double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds, while racking up six assists and four steals as well.
The Defiance women’s basketball team will aim to get back on track Wednesday, January 29 when it travels to Bluffton for its second rivalry matchup with the Beavers. Game time is slated for 6 p.m.