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Transylvania women earn HCAC title with 40-point home win over Hanover College

The Transylvania Pioneers never trailed on their way to a 110-70 victory over Hanover College, claiming the 2014 Heartland Conference Championship on Sunday at the Beck Center.


The 2014 championship is the second under Head Coach Greg Todd and the first for the Pioneers since 2009. With the win, the Pioneers earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.


Todd’s club appeared eager to avenge last year’s, 83-66, loss to Hanover in the HCAC Championship game and did so compliments of a well-balanced offense and a stingy defense. The Pioneers outscored the Panthers 58-24 in the paint and outrebounded Hanover 51-40.


Transylvania entered Sunday’s game riding a 10-game winning streak and ranked No. 22 on USA Today’s Division III Coaches’ Poll, while leading the HCAC in scoring with 86.3 points per game.


Transylvania sophomore Katelyn Smith was named Most Valuable Player, while senior Madisen Webb and junior Nicole Coffman earned All-HCAC Tournament honors in the win.


The Pioneers shot an impressive 45-of-76 (59.2 percent) from the floor and 10-for-21 (47.6 percent) behind the arc.


After junior Alex McKenzie scored the first two buckets for the Pioneers, Hanover answered with a three-pointer from junior Caitlin Bishoff to pull within one, 4-3, less than five minutes into the contest. The teams traded buckets, as freshman Jesse Davidson hit three timely three-pointers to keep the Panthers within five, 22-17 with 11:01 remaining in the opening half. Davidson finished with 14 points and three rebounds for Hanover.


Transylvania controlled the game the rest of the way. Smith ran the floor, following a Hanover miss, sparking a 6-0 run for the Pioneers to go ahead, 30-17. Smith was on-target hitting 6-of-10 from the field and draining two from behind the arc in the first half. She finished with a game-high 23 points, along with five assists and two steals.


Transylvania outscored Hanover 14-2 in the final three minutes of play in the first half, to build a 56-32 advantage at the break. Webb shot 4-for-6 from downtown and grabbed five rebounds in the first half. Webb netted one of her four three-pointers of the half with 3:18 on the clock to spark the Pioneers’ run. The lone senior finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four blocks.


The inside duo of McKenzie and sophomore Alex Botkin proved beneficial, scoring nine of the Pioneers’ final 11 points of the half. McKenzie finished the game with 19 points, 11 rebounds and two assists, while Botkin tallied 14 points, 10 boards, three assists, three blocks and two steals. Transylvania dominated the second half, as the Panthers did not get within 21 points the rest of the game. The Pioneers’ largest lead of 44 points came with 3:08 remaining. The 40-point margin was the largest of the season for the Pioneers.


All Transylvania fans are invited to join the women’s basketball team to watch the selection show Monday at 2:30 in the Hall of Fame Room in the Beck Center where the Pioneers will find out their first-round competition.


From Transylvania Athletics.

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