HANOVER, Ind. – The Yellow Jacket women's basketball team traveled to Hanover to take on the Panthers in a pivotal rematch of one of the best games in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this season. DC won the first meeting on December 8 in an 85-80 overtime thriller. The Jackets were unable to complete the season sweep on Saturday, as Hanover pulled out an 88-76 win over DC.
The two squads began the game by picking up right where they left off from the showdown in Defiance, as the first half featured a highly-entertaining 20 minutes of play. Both sides came out firing in the opening stanza, as the teams traded baskets back-and-forth throughout much of the half.
Neither team was able to build any substantial lead nor momentum, as the largest advantage from either side in the opening frame was four points. There were a total of nine lead changes and five ties throughout the first.
In the waning seconds before the half, DC's Maggie Neanen grabbed an offensive rebound off a miss from Kim Bingley and hoisted up a last second shot that fell at the horn to give the Purple and Gold a 40-38 lead going into the break.
Defiance's Kim Comden was nearly impossible to contain in the first 20 minutes, as the senior scored 18 point on 8-12 shooting to carry the Purple and Gold attack.
The Yellow Jackets came out of the halftime break and controlled the first 10 minutes of the final frame, as Defiance outscored the Panthers 22-13 to open up its largest lead of the day at 62-51.
Hanover refused to go away, as the Panthers quickly ripped off a 9-0 run to make the contest a single-possession game and cut the DC lead to just two points with less than nine minutes to play.
Defiance responded with a trey from Neanen and a layup courtesy of Hannah Harshman to increase the Jacket lead back to seven. However, Hanover's Courtney Prater was not to be outdone, as the senior scored six unanswered points to trim the Purple and Gold advantage to just one point at 67-66 with 6:50 remaining on the clock.
The Jackets desperately tried to cling to its lead but was unable to do so, as the Panthers completed the comeback with a layup from Alicia Hopkins with over five minutes left in the game to make the score 71-70 in favor of Hanover. This was the first Panther lead of the second half, a lead the home team would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.
Hanover went on to close the game on a 19-6 spurt to seal the win at 88-76 and split the regular season series with the Yellow Jackets.
The Purple and Gold finished with three players in double figures on the afternoon. Comden led the way for Defiance with 22 points on 10-20 shooting from the floor, including 2-3 from distance. The senior added nine rebounds and three blocks to her performance.
Other Jackets to score 10 or more were Bingley and Erica King. Bingley matched a career-high with 14 points by going 4-7 from the field and 4-4 from the charity stripe. King added 12 points in the losing effort, as the junior did most of her damage from three-point land by connecting on three triples.
The loss is Defiance's third in conference play and drops its HCAC record to 7-3 on the season, while the Jackets' season record moves to 10-7. The Purple and Gold remain on the road, as the squad travels to Anderson for an HCAC matchup against the Ravens on Wednesday, January 23 at 7:30 p.m.