Lady Lancers edged out by No. 20 USF
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – A hard-fought Crossroads League contest went against Grace’s women’s basketball team in a 60-55 defeat to No. 20 St. Francis.
The Lady Lancers (8-9, 2-3 CL) struggled to shoot 33 percent on Wednesday but still led by seven in the third quarter.
But the Cougars (11-6, 3-2 CL) outscored Grace by five in the fourth quarter thanks in large part to the free throw line.
Grace was sluggish to start the new year offensively. The Lady Lancers missed their first eight field goals and did not score until Pam Miller’s free throws more than five minutes into the game.
USF pulled ahead 8-2 in the first quarter and led 13-5 at the quarter’s end. Grace shot a dreadful 10 percent from the floor (1-for-10) in the period.
Vironnica Drake and Micaela Box jumpstarted Grace’s attack in the second quarter with two 3-pointers. Lauren Godfrey hit another triple to cut the Cougars’ lead to 15-14, and Brooke Sugg hit the team’s fourth trifecta of the quarter to give Grace its first lead of the game.
The score remained close for the remainder of the half as the teams entered halftime knotted 27-27. Myriah Hoffman was a spark in the second quarter, scoring seven points for the Lady Lancers.
The Cougars hit a drought to start the third quarter. USF was held scoreless for the first 4:10 of the period, allowing the Lady Lancers to pull ahead 34-27 on a bucket by Kelsie Peterson. That junction marked the largest lead of the game for Grace.
The Cougars ended the quarter on a torrid pace, pouring in 15 points over the final five minutes. The game entered the final stanza tied again at 42-42.
The teams traded baskets to start the final quarter, but USF began to pull away thanks to the free throw line. The Cougars scored nine points – half of their points – from the foul line in the last quarter.
Grace was behind by five with 3:43 to play when Box sank a deep triple. The Lady Lancers misfired on their next two shots, however, and USF made Grace pay from the free throw line and eased out to the five-point win.
For the game, USF shot 21 more free throws than Grace and were called for 15 fewer fouls. Both sides struggled to shoot the ball with Grace at 33 percent and USF at 37 percent.
Hoffman scored a team-high 13 points in just under 14 minutes of action, going 3-of-3 from the 3-point line and shooting 4-of-5 overall.
Drake ended with 12 points and four rebounds, and Miller added 9 points, 4 assists and 4 boards. Box scored nine points off the bench, and Lexi Minix chipped in 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
Grace ends the week on Saturday, playing at Goshen at 1 p.m. for a women’s and men’s doubleheader.