HANOVER, Ind. – Earlham College's comeback effort was unable to overcome an early double-digit advantage for Hanover College, and the fifth-seeded Quakers dropped a 69-58 decision to the fourth-seeded Panthers in Tuesday night's Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament opening round game at Collier Arena.
In her final collegiate game, senior Mariah Flynn tallied nine points with three boards and three steals.
The loss closed out Earlham's season with a 7-19 overall record, and marked the Quakers' first post-season appearance since earning a quarterfinal game against Kenyon College in the 2008 North Coast Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament.
Earlham trailed Hanover early in the contest. The Panthers connected on a flurry of shots in the first quarter and had a 23-10 lead after the first 10 minutes of play. The Quakers' defensive pressure began to assert itself in the second quarter, with Earlham forcing seven Hanover turnovers in the second stanza alone.
However the Panthers continued to shoot at a 50.0 percent clip throughout the second quarter, while the Quakers were connecting on just 33.3 percent of their shots, and Hanover extended its lead to 39-21 at the half.
The Quakers began to rally in the third quarter, cutting the margin to eight points, 43-35, following a Kyndall Spears jumper at the 3:56 mark of the frame. Back-to-back layups by the Panthers' Macy Walker quelled the Earlham threat, and Hanover was in front by 11, 55-44, after 30 minutes of play.
A Flynn jumper early in the fourth cut the deficit to nine, 55-46, but the Quakers could not capitalize on the advantage.
Maleha Motter led Hanover (18-8 overall) with 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Alexis Nall tacked on 15 points in the win. The Panthers advance to the HCAC Tournament semifinals, and will play top-seeded Rose-Hulman on Friday, Feb. 23, in Terre Haute, Ind. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., with Transylvania and Bluffton squaring off in the second semifinal at 8:30 p.m.
For more information about Earlham women's basketball, visit the online home of Earlham College athletics at www.GoEarlham.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Earlham athletics news by following Earlham Quakers on Facebook (Earlham Quakers Athletics), Twitter (@EarlhamQuakers), and Instagram (EarlhamQuakers).