Grace’s offense sputters in loss to Emmanuel

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The 2018 NCCAA National Championships started in defeat for Grace’s women’s basketball team on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers (18-16) fell to Emmanuel 65-54 in the opening round of the tournament after shooting 31 percent.

Grace put itself in a hole in the first half, and a late rally came up short to reach the NCCAA semifinals.

With the loss Grace will play against Yellowstone Christian (Mont.) on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

The first quarter was closely contested. Micaela Box scored five points off the bench in the quarter to provide a spark, but the Lady Lions (17-11) ended the quarter ahead by two.

Grace hit a wall collectively in the second quarter. Vironnica Drake scored early in the quarter, but Grace went the next six minutes before making another field goal.

Emmanuel used Grace’s drought to pull ahead. The Lions went on a 10-2 run to assert a double-digit lead, and Emmanuel cruised into halftime with a 36-21 lead.

The Lady Lions shot 54 percent from the floor in the half compared to 27 percent for Grace. Micaela Box was Grace’s leading scorer with five points.

Lexi Minix gave Grace a boost to start the second half. Minix buried back-to-back 3-pointers, quickly bringing Grace to within 36-27.

The Lady Lancers continued to battle and eventually whittled Emmanuel’s cushion down to six in the third quarter.

Grace found itself in another hole early in the fourth quarter, however. The Lady Lions scored the first six points of the fourth to open a 13-point edge with 8:48 remaining.

Emmanuel still led 57-44 with five minutes to play, but Grace made a furious rally. Pam Miller scored in the paint, and Brooke Sugg and Box drilled consecutive triples.

Box’s 3-pointer sliced the Lady Lions’ lead down to five, forcing an Emmanuel timeout.

Both teams struggled to make shots for the ensuing two minutes. Grace missed its next three field goals and was forced to start fouling. Emmanuel iced the win with six free throws in the final 20 seconds.

Box and Drake were the only players for Grace to score in double figures. Drake had 11 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals, leading the team in all three categories, and Box added 10 points.

Sugg had seven points with six assists, Miller tallied seven points with five boards, and Minix produced 9 points, 4 boards and 3 steals.