TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Hanover College built upon a nine-point halftime lead to pull away from the visiting Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's basketball team, handing the Engineers an 81-64 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference loss Wednesday at Collier Arena.
The Fightin' Engineers fell to 8-14 overall and 6-9 in the HCAC with the loss, while the Panthers -- winners of nine in a row -- improved to 14-8, 12-8.
Gracie Gibbs (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa), Sheree Williams (Bluffton, S.C./Bluffton) and Lauren Meadows (Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf) each scored nine points to lead the Engineers in the setback, while freshman Abbie Marshall (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall) pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with seven points and three blocks.
The Panthers jumped out to a 25-7 lead to start the contest, capped by a Kelsey Block 3-pointer at the 12:25 mark. The Fightin' Engineers would respond, as RHIT made a run before the half to trim the lead to nine, 42-33, at the break.
Rose-Hulman would open the second half on a brief run, as a Williams triple and a Marshall jumper cut the lead to four, 42-38, with 17:47 left to play. The Panthers would then build a 19-point lead over the course of the next nine minutes, taking a commanding 63-44 lead at the 8:50 mark.
The Engineers would have one more run left in them, lead by two back-to-back Meadows' 3-pointers trimmed the lead to seven, 66-59, with 5:09 to play. But Hanover closed the door down the stretch, completing a 15-5 run to seal the victory.
Gibbs added seven boards, two blocks and two assists and Andi Evers (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) and Josie Schmidt (Eighty Four, Pa./Ringgold) had seven points apiece for RHIT. Senior Kelsey Ploof (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) pitched in six points, four assists and four boards for the Engineers, who shot 46.7 percent (21-of-45) from the field for the game.
Hanover finished the contest 42.4 percent (25-of-59) from the field. Megan Caudill led the Panthers with 17 points and Block added 12 points.
The Engineers travel to Bluffton for a 1 p.m. matchup Saturday and then return home for RHIT's final contest at Hulbert Arena against Franklin Feb. 19. Rose-Hulman closes out the regular season with a contest at Mount St. Joseph Feb. 22.