Sheamus Dalton
Sports Editor

Lauren Hancher ’16’s 32-point performance in Wooster’s 65-50 win over Hiram College last week helped the Scots to their second conference win of the season. She hit a pair of key 3-point shots to finish the first half and scored a layup late in the second to ensure a win for the Scots. For most players, it was an exceptional performance, but for Hancher it may have been the most memorable game in her career.

Her 32 points not only helped the Scots to an important win, but also solidified her spot in the all-time scoring list as the third-highest scorer in The College of Wooster women’s basketball program history.

With 1,367 career points, Hancher is one of the best ever to play basketball for The College of Wooster. She has been a four-year starter for the Scots and has been a central piece of the team’s offense during each of her seasons. She has a long list of incredible performances including 32- and 38-point games this season and a 40-point game last season that set the program’s single-game scoring record. She sits second in the Wooster record books for career field goals made, and has two season-scoring totals in the top 10 of program history.

By the statistics alone, this is one of the most notable careers of any Wooster basketball player. However, it was a career that almost didn’t happen. When being recruited by Wooster out of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, she was getting more attention as a soccer player than as a basketball player. Hancher said that she was one of the best players on her school’s soccer team but only a role player for the basketball team. This led her to search for recruitment from college teams as a soccer player rather than a basketball player. Even Wooster didn’t give her much attention for talents on the basketball court.

“[Wooster] knew I was looking here for soccer,” said Hancher. “And Coach [Ashley] Reid was the coach, and she didn’t really pursue me that much. Darren [Moore, the then-assistant coach for the women’s soccer team] kind of recruited me for basketball for her.”

Despite only being actively recruited for soccer, Hancher chose to attend Wooster with the hopes that she would be able to play both basketball and soccer. No one, especially not she, could predict the sort of career she would soon have as a Wooster basketball player.

In her first season on the soccer team, she was immediately an impact player, taking a starting role on the team by the end of the season. When the women’s soccer team lost in the conference semifinals, she joined the basketball team off an invitation to tryout for the team and a gentle push to play basketball from her head soccer coach, Gordie Brown.

The transition from soccer to basketball was difficult. Joining the team several weeks after preseason practices began was a new challenge.

Head coach Lisa Panepento said that Hancher didn’t show her true ability in her first season.

“It was always a challenge to join the team three or four weeks late due to soccer season overlap, so it took her a while to find her niche on the team.”

While Hancher continued to play soccer for the rest of her college career, she began hit her srtide on the basketball court during her sophomore season, she began to hit her stride. She recorded several performances during the winter that suggested she may be on track for a solid career. Hancher finished fourth in the conference in scoring that year, including a 29-point performance against Schreiner College. By the end of the season, she was Wooster’s go-to scorer and one of the conference’s most dynamic offensive players.

Panepento said that it was Hancher’s junior year where she showed she could become one of Wooster’s all-time greats. On Jan. 28, she recorded 40 points in a game against Hiram College, passing W Association Hall of Famer Katie Montague ’99 for most points scored in a game. It was a pivotal moment in her career that began her ascent into the Wooster history books.

“I was really invested in the game,” said Hancher. “I honestly wasn’t even trying to score that many points. It set in later that week when everyone congratulated me [that I set a school record].”

Many other potent scoring performances that season contributed to an average of 17.7 points per game, second highest in conference and sixth highest in program history. With 443 total points that season, she also moved to ninth in program history in career scoring with 983. Hancher entered her final season on the verge of solidifying her name as one of Wooster’s best ever players.

This season, she has done just that. Hancher is averaging 17.5 points a game and is on pace to have over 400 total points on the season. She has scored double digits in points in all but three games this season, including her 38-point game against Ohio Wesleyan University in January and her 32-point game against Hiram last week. Her performance has been a fitting cap to her remarkable career on the basketball court, a career that almost never happened.

“[My success] means a lot to me,” said Hancher. “You want to leave a legacy almost when you graduate, and I just want my legacy to be a positive one and impact the program positively. I feel like I’ve done that.”