Women's Basketball Narrowly Falls to Hanover

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TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's basketball team made a furious rally in the final minutes, but it wasn't enough to catch visiting Hanover College in a 80-77 Heartland Collegiate Athlethic Conference loss Wednesday.
Kelsey Ploof (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) and Sheree Williams (Bluffton, S.C./Bluffton) led the Engineers (7-9, 5-4) with 16 points each, Kristen Belyea (Mahomet, Ill./Mahomet Seymour) added 12 points and Abbie Marshall (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall) had 10 points in the loss.
Hanover (8-8, 6-3) built a 10-point lead (71-61) with 5:19 remaining in the game, but the Engineers fought back with a 6-0 run, sparked by a Lauren Meadows (Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf) jumper and ensuing Williams steal and layup.
The Panthers, using an extended defense for nearly the entire contest, pushed the lead back to seven, 77-70, with 53 seconds left before a Ploof layup and two Williams free throws cut the lead to five.
After two Hanover free throws, Marshall drained a corner 3 out of a timeout to make it a four-point lead, but Hanover's Alicia Hopkins with sink a free throw and the Panthers ran out the clock to seal the game.
Hanover led at halftime, 40-33, despite the Engineers taking an early nine-point lead (11-2) to start the game.
Rose-Hulman shot 58 percent (29-of-50) for the game, compared to 45.3 percent (24-of-53) by Hanover. The Engineers also won the rebounding battle, 36-28, led by eight rebounds apiece from Ploof and junior Gracie Gibbs (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa).
RHIT freshman Josie Schmidt (Eighty Four, Pa./Ringgold) added nine points and sophomore Carrie Morris (Altadena, Calif./Mayfield) tied a career-high with six assists.
Alicia Hopkins scored 16 points and had five of the Panthers' 18 steals to lead Hanover, while teammate Megan Caudill added 14 points.
The Engineers return to the court Saturday when they host Transylvania, which was upset in a 91-83 loss to Franklin Wednesday.
Saturday's contest marks RHIT's annual breast cancer awareness game, with a special ceremony set to honor more than 40 Wabash Valley survivors beginning at 12:40 p.m. inside Hulbert Arena. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m.