Pesky defense leads Lady Lancers past Goshen

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s basketball team muted Crossroads League foe Goshen 64-55 on Saturday thanks to a stout defensive effort.

The Lady Lancers (12-12, 6-6 CL) nabbed a season-high 15 steals and forced the Maple Leafs (1-23, 0-12 CL) into 20 turnovers.

Grace’s active hands on defense produced 21 points off turnovers compared to just eight for Goshen.

The Maple Leafs began the game stronger, jumping out to a 9-2 lead after five minutes of play. But the pace picked up for the rest of the quarter, which favored Grace.

The Lady Lancers quickly caught up to Goshen and took a 16-15 lead after a clever give-and-go fastbreak connection from Kyannah Stull and Brooke Sugg.

In the final 30 seconds, Micaela Box hit a 3-pointer, and Sugg swished a floater in the final seconds to put Grace ahead 21-17.

Grace’s defense locked down the Maple Leafs for the next two quarters. Goshen was held to 10 points in the second quarter and 12 more in the third as the Maple Leafs struggled to keep pace.

The Lady Lancers, meanwhile, began to pull away in the second quarter. Stull hit a pair of triples in the period, and Kelsie Peterson added another trey. Grace led 39-27 at halftime.

Grace started the third quarter with a 3-pointer from Sugg and a bucket by Vironnica Drake, and the Lady Lancers surged ahead by 17.

The Maple Leafs continued to battle, however, and slowly chipped away at Grace’s cushion. With 4:19 remaining in the game, Goshen’s Carley O’Neal buried a trey which cut Grace’s lead down to 57-49.

But Drake and Pam Miller scored on back-to-back possessions to reassert a double-digit lead, and Grace coasted until the final buzzer.

Box led all scorers with 14 points, and Sugg had 13 points and three steals.

Miller nearly had a double-double with eight points and 12 rebounds, Drake added 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, and Stull was 3-for-4 from beyond the arc for nine points.

Grace’s defense helped overcome what was otherwise a mediocre shooting afternoon for the Lady Lancers. Grace shot 39 percent from the floor, 33 percent from beyond the arc and 69 percent from the free throw line.

The Lady Lancers travel to Huntington on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in pursuit of a season sweep of the Foresters.