Lady Lancers Honored by NCCAA


WINONA LAKE, Ind. –After their outstanding season, Grace's women's basketball team was honored by the NCCAA for their play.

Head coach Scott Blum was named the All-Region Coach of the Year after leading Grace to its best conference season in school history and first .500-season since 1992.

Junior Hayley Cashier grabbed First Team All-Region honors after pacing the Lady Lancers offensively. She led Grace with 12.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. She buried 39.2 percent of her three-point attempts and finished the season with seven double-doubles.

Danielle Boykin (Second Team) and Hannah Lengel (Honorable Mention) also earned NCCAA postseason honors for Grace's region. Boykin was second on the team with 9.5 points and 4.5 boards per game and also recorded 42 steals.

Lengel had a well-rounded season with 7.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. She also hit 38.2 percent of her treys and 82.3 percent of her free throws on the season.

Mid-America Captures Fifth Place


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Lady Evangels of Mid-America Christian University got a lead and clung to it in their 69-63 victory against Grace College in the fifth-place game on Saturday.

The contest was close throughout, 11 points being the largest lead, but No. 7 Mid-America continually responded whenever Grace tried to make a charge and remained on top the majority of the game.

Grace’s only lead of the game came at the start, when Hayley Cashier drained two 3-pointers and scored the Lady Lancers’ first 10 points to give them a 10-8 advantage. After Mid-America’s Michelle Hardimon hit a 3-pointer to give MACU an 11-10 lead at the 12:30 mark, however, the Lady Evangels (16-17) never trailed again.

The No. 5 seeded Lady Lancers (17-17) cut Mid-America’s lead to one point on four separate occasions and two points six times but could never seize the lead.

After holding a narrow 31-29 lead at the break, Mid-America saw its largest lead of the game in the second half. After Grace got within two points (42-40) with 10:35 remaining, the Lady Evangels sparked a 9-0 run to go up by 11 points.

Grace slowly chipped away at Mid-America’s lead and only trailed 65-63 with 2:14 remaining, but the Lady Evangels maintained their poise and scored two buckets in the paint to silence Grace.

Mid-America outscored Grace in the paint 36-14 and 30-7 off the bench.

Grace outscored the Lady Evangels 24-6 from the charity stripe, took 15 more free throws and had nine fewer fouls.

The Lady Evangels were led by Brittany Woodard’s 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting and Brittany Johnson’s 15 points and seven rebounds. Nicole Wittman chipped in 13 points on 6 of 10 shooting.

Kiera Gray led Grace with 22 points on 4 of 7 shooting from downtown and 10 of 10 from the free throw line. Cashier totaled 14 points, and Danielle Boykin and Hannah Lengel each tallied 10 points.

Mid-America took fifth place in the tournament with the victory, and Grace settled for sixth.

Grace Pulls Off Win Against King


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – In a back-and-forth game that featured 10 lead changes and two ties, Grace College pulled off a 67-55 victory against King College on Friday, advancing the Lady Lancers (17-16) to the fifth place game on Saturday.

Grace, the No. 5 seed, jumped to a 7-0 start and maintained a single-digit lead the remainder of the half, entering break with a 30-26 advantage.

With 13 minutes to play in the game, the No. 8 seed Lady Tornado (13-18) took its first lead of the contest and led Grace 39-38. The next 10 tightly-contested minutes featured all 10 of the game’s lead changes and both of the contest’s ties.

Rachel Striebich scored all seven of her points during the span to keep Grace in the game, and Jessica Tharpe and Ashley Deans combined for 13 points in 10 minutes for King.

Trailing 52-51 with three minutes remaining, Grace closed the game on a 16-3 run to defeat King by 12, the largest margin of the game. During the run, the Lady Lancers only converted one field goal, but went 14 for 15 from the charity stripe. Hannah Lengel and Kiera Gray combined for 15 points in the final three minutes.

Gray totaled a game-high 18 points on 5 of 7 shooting for Grace, Danielle Boykin chipped in 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting, and Striebich stepped up off the bench and tallied seven points and eight rebounds in only 11 minutes of play.

Tharpe and Deans each tallied 14 points and four rebounds for King, and Brooke Johnson totaled 10 points.

King struggled from beyond the arc, going 3 for 19 on the afternoon. Grace’s bench outscored the Lady Tornado 22-14.

Grace will play in the fifth place game against Mid-America at 1 p.m on Saturday, and King will face Trinity International at 11 a.m.

Click here view and download photographs from the the Trinity/Mid-America game.

Lady Lancers Fall to Roberts Wesleyan in Overtime


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – An exciting first day of the 2011 NCCAA Tournament concluded on a high note when Roberts Wesleyan College held off Grace College 67-60 in overtime.

No. 4 Roberts Wesleyan dominated points in the paint, outscoring Grace 42-22 in the game. The Lady Raiders (20-11) were outrebounded by nine but came up with a couple of huge second-chance buckets late in overtime to clinch the game.

Grace had an opportunity to win the game in regulation with less than five seconds remaining, but a 3-point shot by Autumn Heflin was off the mark.

Grace's Kate Ball hit back-to-back threes to help the No. 5 Lady Lancers (16-16) take over Roberts Wesleyan's overtime lead. But Grace struggled to slow down Roberts Wesleyan's attack, and the Lady Raiders' 15 points outpaced the Lady Lancers.

Roberts Wesleyan was led offensively by Bianca Jones with 22 points. She finished shooting 10 of 15 from the field and also tallied nine rebounds. Brittany McMillon recorded a double-double of 18 points and 16 boards, and Tiffany Wilson came up with 9 points, 6 assists, and 3 steals.

The Lady Raiders committed only seven turnovers compared to 16 for the Lady Lancers.

Grace was led by Kiera Gray’s 15 points with four 3-pointers. Hayley Cashier also added 10 points and nine boards.

No. 5 Grace will take on King College on Friday at 3 p.m., and No. 4 Roberts Wesleyan will play No. 1 Southwestern Assemblies of God University at 7 p.m.

Click here to view and download photographs from the fourth game. 

Lady Lancers to Face Roberts Wesleyan in Opening Round


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace College’s women’s basketball team hopes to continue its record-breaking year in postseason play this week.

The Lady Lancers (16-15), the No. 5 seed in the NCCAA national tournament, will face No. 4 Roberts Wesleyan at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in the opening round, Grace’s best seed in its three years hosting the tournament.

“The last two years, our goal was still to win it,” said head coach Scott Blum. “But we were young, and we always had a No. 8 seed. The best thing that we have this year is experience and confidence. The girls truly believe they can win it this year.”

Grace is coming off its first winning season since 1992 and its best Mid-Central College Conference record (7-9) in program history. They also received votes in the NAIA national poll for the first time in women’s basketball history and proved that they could compete with some of the top teams in the nation by defeating Marian and Saint Francis, two teams that advanced to the NAIA national tournament.

“Overall, we had a more successful season,” said senior Morgan DiAntonio. “We’ve always known that we can play with anyone, but this year, we proved it. It just feels like things are falling into place, and we can do it.”

Grace, however, will have their hands full with the Lady Raiders (19-11) of Roberts Wesleyan, the NCCAA East Regional representative. Roberts Wesleyan finished sixth in the 12-team American Mideast Conference with an 11-5 AMC record.

Roberts is led by First Team All-AMC senior Brittany McMillon, a forward who averages 12.1 ppg and 7.1 rpg. Senior guard and Monroe Community College transfer Tiffany Wilson was named AMC Newcomer of the Year, averaging 8.5 ppg and leading the team with 102 assists.

The Lady Raiders, one of the best rebounding teams in NAIA Division II basketball, rank No. 2 in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (18.6) and No. 3 in total rebounds per game (46.4).

“The first year in the tournament was intimidating,” said junior Hannah Lengel. “But we’ve learned that you have to show up every game. It takes effort every game, but I think everyone is going to leave it all out there.”

The Lady Lancers are led by First Team All-MCC junior Hayley Cashier who is having a breakout year with 13.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg and seven double-doubles. Point guard Juaneice Jackson also earned Freshman of the Year honors in the MCC with 7.7 ppg off the bench.

Statistically, Grace matches up well against Roberts Wesleyan’s exemplary rebounding, ranking No. 18 in the nation in total rebound defense (34.8).

“If you would have asked them last year about our chances of winning, I don’t know what they would have told you,” Blum continued. “But because of the season we’ve had this year, they truly believe we can win it. But it starts on Thursday.”

The NCCAA national tournament opens Thursday at 1 p.m. between No. 2 seed Bethel College and No. 7 seed Mid-America Christian. There will also be games at 3 p.m., 5 p.m., the Parade of Champions at 7 p.m. and the Grace game at 7:30 p.m.

For complete coverage on the NCCAA Women's Division I National Tournament, click here.

Grace Grabs No. 5 Seed in Women's NCCAA Tournament


WINONA LAKE, Ind. - The Grace College women's basketball team received the seeding for the 2011 NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) Division I National Basketball Tournament on Sunday night.  The Lady Lancers were awarded the No. 5 seed and will play against the No. 4 seed, Roberts Wesleyan College, in the opening round on Thursday.

The Lady Lancers (16-15) will play the night cap at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday against the Raiders (19-11).

As the host school, Grace received a No. 8 seed in the NCCAA tournament the last two years. Following Grace's impressive regular season, however, the Lady Lancers earned a No. 5 seed this year. Grace finished the regular season with its first winning record since 1992 and its best conference record in school history.

The overall No. 1 seed in the tournament is Southwestern Assemblies of God University from Dallas, Texas.  The tournament will showcase eight of the top NCCAA programs in the country.  The NCCAA tournament will take place from March 17-19 at Grace's Orthopaedic Capital Center in Winona Lake, Ind.

The 2011 NCCAA National Tournament Bracket Seeding:

1. Southwestern Assemblies of God University
2. Bethel College
3. Emmanuel College
4. Roberts Wesleyan College
5. Grace College
6. Trinity International University
7. Mid-America Christian University
8. King College

Click here for more information on the NCCAA tournament.

Grace Falls to Bethel in NCCAA Regional Championship


MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Grace continued to struggle against conference foe Bethel College and fell to the Lady Pilots in overtime 66-62 at the NCCAA Midwest Regional Championship game on Friday.

It was the third time the Lady Pilots (18-14) have defeated Grace this season, the average margin of victory being a measly six points.

“It was just a great game,” said head coach Scott Blum. “It was a typical Bethel and Grace game. It was good to play though because we got all of the rust off in preparation for next week’s national championship. That team is tough. They hit threes everywhere.”

Bethel held a 56-53 advantage with under a minute to play, but Grace’s Hayley Cashier nailed a clutch 3-pointer from the top of the key to even the score. The Lady Lancers (16-15) had a chance to win the game, but Cashier missed a three, and Juaneice Jackson’s floater off of the offensive rebound rimmed out.

In overtime, Bethel outscored Grace 10-6 to record the win and earn an automatic berth at the NCCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament at Grace’s Orthopaedic Capital Center beginning on Thursday. Grace earns an automatic berth as the host school but could have kept the defending NCCAA national champions out of the tournament with a victory on Friday.

“We started out kind of sluggish, which I was kind of anticipating since it’s been a couple weeks since we’ve played,” Blum continued. “But we got into our form in the first half and started to play well. They are going to hit threes, and we are going to score inside. But we didn’t make our shots down low.”

Grace trailed 7-1 at the start of the game and didn’t score its first field goal until Kiera Gray’s 3-pointer five minutes into the game. The Lady Lancers tied the game 15-15, then mounted a 17-5 run at the end of the first half continuing into the second period to take a 32-20 advantage with 17:30 remaining in the game.

Bethel, however, made an 18-6 run of its own to tie the game 38-38 midway into the period, setting the tone for a back-and-forth conclusion. The contest included 12 lead changes and eight ties.

Cashier led Grace with 18 points on 4 of 9 shooting from beyond the arc. She also totaled 10 rebounds, her seventh double-double of the season. Both Hannah Lengel and Autumn Heflin contributed 10 points and four steals, and Danielle Boykin tallied nine points and seven rebounds.

The game included 56 turnovers, 30 from Grace and 26 from Bethel.

The Lady Lancers return to action at the three-day NCCAA national tournament in Grace’s Orthopaedic Capital Center beginning on Thursday. The finalized schedule and bracket will be announced on Sunday. 

Slow Start Dooms Grace


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Marian University jumped to an early 21-7 lead and never looked back, defeating Grace 86-77 in the first round of the Mid-Central College Conference tournament on Tuesday.

The sixth seeded Lady Lancers (16-14) never led in the game and trailed by as much as 17 in the first half and 18 in the second half. Trailing 76-58 with 4:22 to play in the game, Grace sparked a 17-6 run to make the score 82-75 with 34 seconds left, but their efforts came too late in the game.

“We had our chances, and we made a game of it and battled back,” said head coach Scott Blum. “I’m proud of our effort the second half. It was probably the two hottest teams in the conference right now, and unfortunately one had to walk away.”

Grace also attempted to narrow the gap at the end of the first half and beginning of the second. The Lady Lancers trailed 40-23 with two minutes left in the first period, but cut No. 14 Marian’s lead to 13 at the break and down to seven with 13:54 remaining in the game, a 19-9 overall run.

The Lady Lancers again only trailed by seven (58-51) three minutes later, but the third seeded Lady Knights (22-6) responded with an 18-7 run to put the game out of reach.

Hayley Cashier led Grace with 21 points on 9 of 15 shooting along with seven rebounds, her third 21-point game in a row. Hannah Lengel totaled 17 points on 8 of 8 shooting from the charity stripe, and Emily Bidwell chipped in 14 points.

Grace struggled to contain Marian’s Rachel Kenney, who tallied 27 points on 10 of 17 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. Kenney is averaging 21 points in her three games against Grace this season. Marian outrebounded Grace 45-29 on the evening.

“We didn’t have an answer for their inside game,” Blum said. “It’s one of the first games all year where we’ve been killed on the boards.”

Now Grace shifts their focus toward the NCCAA Division I national tournament beginning on March 17 where Grace will earn an automatic bid as the host school.

Cashier, Jackson, Boykin Receive MCC Accolades


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Three Lady Lancers received Mid-Central College Conference honors on Sunday for their stellar performances during the MCC regular season.

Junior Hayley Cashier was named All-Conference First Team, Juaneice Jackson received Freshman of the Year and All-Freshmen Team honors, and Junior Danielle Boykin was named All-Conference Honorable Mention.

"It's nice to see our girls get some recognition in our conference," said head coach Scott Blum. "This is the best conference season we've ever had, and Hayley, JJ, and Danny played a big role in our success."

Cashier is having a breakout season for the Lady Lancers, leading Grace with 12.8 points per game, 8.4 rebounds per game and six double-doubles. She scored 21 points the last two games of the season, helping the Lady Lancers defeat No. 5 Saint Francis on Feb. 16, and nearly upset No. 6 Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday. She has also proved to be lethal from beyond the arc this season, draining 22 treys on 39.3 percent shooting.

In her first season, Jackson is averaging 8.0 points per game off the bench and had a huge 26-point game in her first start against Marian on Jan. 29. Boykin is averaging 9.6 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Cashier, Jackson and Boykin were instrumental in securing Grace’s first above-.500 record since 1992 and earning the most conference wins in Lady Lancer history. 

Grace Gives Sixth Ranked Indiana Wesleyan a Scare


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Up 72-67 with 49 seconds left, it looked like Grace was going to earn their fifth straight conference victory. No. 6 Indiana Wesleyan, however, scored seven unanswered points in the final minute to defeat the Lady Lancers in a heartbreaker, 74-72.

The Lady Wildcats (24-5; 13-3 MCC) nailed a 3-pointer, then intercepted the inbounds pass and drew a foul, which allowed them to tie the game at the free throw line 72-72 with 34 seconds left.

On the other end, Grace attempted two quality shots but couldn’t convert, and the Lady Lancers (16-13; 7-9 MCC) were whistled for a questionable foul while fighting for the rebound with 0.8 seconds left. In the double bonus, the Lady Wildcats won the game at the free throw line.

In a very tightly contested game, Grace’s largest lead was six points, and Indiana Wesleyan’s was eight points. The contest included six ties and eight lead changes, and Grace led for the final five minutes of the game before slipping at the end.

Hayley Cashier continued her dominance and tallied 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting, Danielle Boykin added 13 points, Juaneice Jackson totaled 12 points (all in the second half), and Hannah Lengel chipped in 11. Boykin also had a game-high nine rebounds and Cashier grabbed eight boards. Heflin had nine points on 3 of 5 shooting from beyond the arc.

Jennifer Pease (manager), Morgan DiAntonio and Heflin were honored before the game for Senior Day. Kiera Gray was also honored for becoming the 12th Lady Lancer to join the 1,000-point club.

Grace finished sixth in the conference and will play No. 18 Marian University in the first round of the conference tournament on Tuesday. The Lady Lancers will travel to Indianapolis, Ind., for a 7 p.m. start.

Cashier’s 3-Point Barrage Takes Down No. 5 Cougars


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Leading No. 5 Saint Francis by two points with one minute remaining, Hayley Cashier nailed one of her five 3-pointers in the game, and Grace sealed the 78-71 upset over No. 5 Saint Francis at the free throw line.

Grace knocked down 9 of 10 from the free throw line in the final minute, including six from Cashier who scored a game-high 21 points.

“Our ladies hung on all night and just battled. I’m very proud of them,” said head coach Scott Blum. “The key factor tonight was defense. If you’re going to beat a good team like Saint Francis, you have to play defense. It came down to us hitting free throws at the end, which we did.”

The Cougars (23-6; 12-3 MCC) forced the Lady Lancers into 10 first-half turnovers and shot 50 percent (4 of 8) from the 3-point line to take a commanding 37-29 lead at halftime.

After allowing Saint Francis to close the first half on a 17-7 run, Grace charged out of the locker room with seven unanswered points, including five from Kiera Gray, to close the gap to one. The Lady Lancers grabbed the lead on a 3-point shot by Cashier with 13:52 remaining and rarely let the Cougars sniff the lead the rest of the game.

“We had a great game plan tonight, and we stuck to it,” Blum continued. “The girls really battled hard and were the aggressors in the second half. When we play like we did tonight, we can beat anybody in the country – I really believe that.”

Cashier’s outburst from the 3-point line proved to be a career-best performance. She hit 5 of 6 on the day to go along with 11 rebounds – her second double-double of the year. Last season, Cashier only hit three 3-pointers all year.

Gray scored 13 points on 4 of 6 shooting, and Emily Bidwell provided some valuable minutes off the bench with 10 points, 8 boards, and 2 blocks.

Grace’s defense gave Saint Francis’ offense fits in the second half. The Cougars struggled to 27 percent (10 of 37) shooting in the half.

The Lady Lancers held a plus-five advantage on the boards to compensate for committing 17 turnovers and recording only four assists.

Grace returns to action on Saturday when they host another top-10 team in No. 6 Indiana Wesleyan. Tip-off at the Orthopaedic Capital Center is set for 1 p.m.

Junior Gray Joins 1,000-Point Club


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Junior Kiera Gray became the 12th Lady Lancer to join the 1,000-point club with her six-point performance in Grace’s 70-52 win against Spring Arbor on Saturday.

Gray entered the game with 996 points and scored her 1,000th point on a field goal with 36 seconds left in the first period. After a season-ending ACL tear sidelined Gray last year, she has bounced back with 229 points this season, an average of 8.5 points per game.

“The future for her was unknown, to be honest, because of her injuries,” said head coach Scott Blum. “But for Kiera to get her 1,000th point during her junior year, that’s just a great accomplishment. It’s a big deal, and I’m excited for her.”

She tallied 27 points in three games last year before her injury, totaled 483 points during her sophomore breakout season and contributed 263 points during her freshman year. Gray averaged 9.1 points per game her freshman year and 14.6 points per game her sophomore year.

Despite not being 100 percent this season, Gray totaled a season-high 21 points against Goshen on Jan. 6, 17 points against Marian on Dec. 4, and 17 against Trinity International on Nov. 13.

“She was really consistent her freshman year, and then she had a really solid sophomore year that got her some conference recognition,” Blum continued. “Then her traditional junior year came, and she was a little devastated because of her injury. I know she would call it a miracle for her to get her 1,000th point after sitting out a whole year. Her role has changed a little bit this year, but she has excelled.”

Lady Lancers Earn Third Straight Win, Gray Nets 1000th


SPRING ARBOR, Mich. -- Thirteen Lady Lancers scored in Grace's 70-52 victory against Spring Arbor University on Saturday, Grace's third victory in a row.

The Lady Lancers (15-12; 6-8 MCC) never trailed in the contest, and jumped to an early 10-0 lead in the first five minutes of play thanks to four points apiece from Danielle Boykin and Hayley Cashier.

"It was good to finally get off the bus and play well at the start," said head coach Scott Blum. "We just built a good lead and played great defense to maintain it."

Grace built their lead to 23 points at the break, their largest of the game up to that point, and held a comfortable 41-18 advantage over the Lady Cougars (8-21; 2-13 MCC). The Lady Lancers' lockdown defense forced 15 first-half turnovers which translated to 11 points. Grace, a team that averages over 17 turnovers per game, only turned the ball over three times in the first period.

"We played well right from the tip and just beat them down defensively," Blum continued. "We just grabbed the lead at the beginning and then brought the defensive pressure."

Their lead climbed to 26 points, Grace's largest of the game, at the 12:37 mark, 10:35 mark and 9:31 mark.

Cashier and Boykin tallied 10 points apiece, and Cashier also grabbed eight rebounds, five of which were offensive. Kate Ball added eight points, and Emily Bidwell tallied eight points and six rebounds in 15 minutes.

Kiera Gray entered the game with 996 career points and tallied six during the contest, becoming the 12th Lady Lancer to join the 1,000-point club.

After losing five in a row and slipping to a .500 record in early February, Grace has gone on a three-game tear to climb to sixth in the conference.

Grace returns to action in Fort Wayne, Ind., to take on the University of Saint Francis at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Grace Finds Way To Finish Taylor in Overtime 


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – One of head coach Scott Blum's goals for the team tonight was to outwork Taylor. And that's exactly what Grace did.

The Lady Lancers (14-12; 5-8 MCC) pulled out a hard-fought 82-79 overtime victory over the Trojans (14-14; 5-9 MCC), fueled by defensive pressure and effort on the boards.

Grace was outshot from the field by 6 percent, from the 3-point line by 8 percent, and from the free throw line by 19 percent, but the women grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and 14 steals to earn their second conference win in a row.

Despite eight ties in the game, Grace never allowed Taylor to hold a lead except when the score was 5-4. The Lady Lancers built a 13-point lead in the first half before a 15-6 run by the Trojans cut the deficit to 31-27 at the half.

Grace attempted to shut the door on Taylor late in the first half, taking a 62-52 lead with 4:09 remaining. But as they did for much of the night, Taylor did not go down without a fight. Taylor scored 10 of the game's next 11 points to come within one point.

Twice down the stretch, Hayley Cashier scored to put Grace ahead, but each time Taylor answered to tie the game. After Autumn Heflin missed a shot, Danielle Boykin grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled with 23 seconds to play. Boykin hit both shots to put Grace ahead 69-67, but Taylor's Shayna Wood beat Grace's full court press over the top for the game-tying layup. The Lady Lancers had three shots in the waning seconds of regulation but were unable to find the game winner.

"We have to finish games better," Blum said. "Like we have most of the season, we get good shots, but we are not finishing. We knew Taylor was a good team, and they wouldn't go away, so it is good to get some of these close wins instead of closes losses."

The overtime period was much like the end of regulation -- Taylor tied the game three times, and Grace was unable to build a lead of more than three points, but the Lady Lancers made the shots when it counted. Grace scored nine of their 13 points from the free throw line, and Jayla Starks tallied four points in the extra period including a momentum-changing layup with one minute remaining as Grace was able to hold on for the win.

"We scored first in overtime, which helped us keep the lead," Blum continued. "Jayla hit some big free throws and attacked the basket late, and we were able to finish well in overtime."

Boykin led four Lady Lancers in double figures with 16 points. She grabbed five rebounds and five steals and blocked a pair of shots. Cashier finished with 15 points and eight boards, Juaneice Jackson scored nine of her 11 points in the first half, and Kate Ball came off the bench with three 3-pointers and 11 points.

Kiera Gray, who scored five points, stands on the brink of scoring her 1,000th point. She currently has 996 points and has a chance to become the 12th Lady Lancer in program history to join the elite group.

With the win, Grace jumps Taylor for sixth place in the conference standings. Overall, the Lady Lancers are 9-3 at the Orthopaedic Capital Center this year.

The Lady Lancers travel to Spring Arbor, Mich., to take on the Cougars on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Grace Closes Out Goshen, Halts Skid


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After falling to .500 for the first time all season, Grace responded with a 63-56 win over Goshen to snap its five-game winning streak.

The Lady Lancers (13-12; 4-8 MCC) scored the game's final nine points, including seven points off free throws to ice the game and secure a season sweep against the Maple Leafs (6-20; 2-10 MCC).

Grace started off the game with a shaky first-half shooting performance in which they connected on only 8 of 35 from the field (22.9 percent). Goshen built their largest lead of the game at 27-14 before Grace narrowed the gap to six points before halftime.

"We had good shots in the first half, but they just weren't going in the basket," said head coach Scott Blum. "We ran our offense well and got the shots we wanted. We were fortunate to be down only six at the half."

Grace bolted out of the locker room in the second half with eight straight points to grab their first lead at 35-33. The Maple Leafs battled back to seize a two-point edge with 2:21 to play. But a pair of free throws by Kiera Gray and a jumper by Juaneice Jackson gave the Lady Lancers the lead for good.

Jackson followed up her career-high scoring output last game with a game-high 17 points. Danielle Boykin was close behind with 14 points and seven rebounds. Gray tallied eight points and five assists, and Hayley Cashier added seven points and three steals.

Grace's defense proved pivotal in the game. They forced Goshen into 21 turnovers, recording nine steals and six blocks.

The Lady Lancers found their mark in the second half, hitting 40.7 percent from the field. As is their typical form, Grace outscored Goshen from the bench 23 to 5. Grace also held a plus-five advantage on the glass.

"When we picked up the pressure, we got some turnovers and easy buckets, but we have to maintain the intensity," Blum continued. "We need to continue to focus and play 40 minutes every night."

The Lady Lancers return to action Wednesday at 7 p.m. when they welcome Taylor University to the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Lady Lancers Drop Fifth Straight


HUNTINGTON, Ind. – After falling to Huntington in overtime on Jan. 4, Grace couldn’t get their revenge on Thursday.

The Lady Lancers (12-12; 3-8 MCC) racked up 28 turnovers to Huntington’s 13 and only lost by seven points, 60-53 on the road, their fifth straight conference loss.

Grace didn’t lead the entire first half but took a 35-34 lead, its first of the game, at the beginning of the second period. The Lady Foresters (14-9; 6-5 MCC) responded with an 11-2 run to pull ahead of the Lady Lancers and never look back. With 3:03 remaining the game, Huntington held a 55-45 advantage, its largest lead of the game.

“We played well again but had way too many turnovers and missed layups,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We didn’t get to the free throw line enough, and it was a frustrating game. But we have to move on. It’s a must-win for us on Saturday.”

Hayley Cashier played well for Grace, tallying 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting and grabbing eight rebounds. Kate Ball added 10 points on 2 of 3 shooting from beyond the arc. Hannah Lengel chipped in nine points, and Autumn Heflin tallied eight points.

Grace shot well from the 3-point line, draining 9 of 15, including two apiece from Ball, Heflin and Kiera Gray. They struggled, however, from the charity stripe, missing five of their seven free throws.

The Lady Lancers were whistled for five more fouls than Huntington, and the Lady Foresters took 18 more free throws than Grace.

Grace’s bench outscored Huntington’s 28-8 on the evening.

The women’s basketball team returns to action at home against Goshen College at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Jackson Totals Twenty-Six in Grace Loss


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Juaneice Jackson’s 26-point performance wasn’t enough to get Grace past Marian University on Saturday.

Despite Jackson’s career-high on 10 of 16 shooting, the Lady Lancers (12-11; 3-7 MCC) fell to Marian 72-61 and never led, Grace’s fourth conference loss in a row.

“We had to play without Hannah (Lengel) today because of an injury,” said head coach Scott Blum. “So we started JJ (Jackson) at the point guard position, her first start of the year, and she did a great job for us. She was confident, attacked the basket and had good floor leadership.”

With six minutes remaining in the first half, the Lady Knights (16-6; 7-4 MCC) had already jumped to a dominant 30-13 lead, a deficit too great for Grace to overcome. Grace didn’t go down without a fight, however, and mounted a 9-0 charge of their own to cut Marian’s lead to eight and enter halftime only trailing by 10 points, 36-26. Jackson scored 11 of her 13 first-half points in the final five minutes of the period.

“We started out a little bit flat and didn’t come out with a lot of energy,” Blum continued. “That got us in a hole early, but we came back, and their lead floated around six to eight points for a while.”

Grace cut Marian’s lead to seven points (50-43) midway into the second period and hung around the Lady Knights for the first portion of the half. Marian, however, killed Grace’s hopes with a 14-3 charge of their own to build an 18-point lead (64-46), its largest of the game.

Jackson was the only Lady Lancer in double-figures and also grabbed five boards. Hayley Cashier, Emily Bidwell and Kiera Gray each chipped in eight points. Cashier finished with seven rebounds, and Bidwell had six.

The Lady Lancers only had three assists on the afternoon compared to Marian’s 16.

On a rare occasion, the Lady Knights outscored Grace’s bench 25-15.

Grace returns to action on Wednesday on the road against Huntington University at 7 p.m.

Bethel Drought Continues for Lady Lancers


MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Grace yielded another sweep to conference foe Bethel College on Tuesday, falling 68-59, their third straight loss in MCC play.

The Lady Pilots (15-10; 5-5 MCC) captured the lead with five minutes left in the first period and never looked back, preventing the Lady Lancers (12-10; 3-6 MCC) from making any sort of charge in the second half.

Bethel built their lead to double-figures by halftime and held a comfortable 36-26 advantage over Grace. The Lady Lancers tried to mount several charges in the second period and slowly chopped Bethel’s lead down to five points (40-35) with 14 minutes remaining in the game.

Grace’s rival, however, went on a small 9-3 run to again build a double-figures lead. The closest the Lady Lancers got after that was six points (53-47) with five minutes left in the game, but a dagger 3-pointer by Bethel’s Heather Seyfred and two by Mandy Yoder extinguished Grace’s hopes of a late comeback.

Hannah Lengel led the Lady Lancers with 15 points on 5 of 11 shooting, including 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. Juaneice Jackson tallied 11 points, and Hayley Cashier chipped in 10 on 5 of 9 shooting. Cashier also had a game-high nine rebounds.

The Lady Lancers struggled from beyond the arc, hitting just 7 of 25, and racked up 20 turnovers on the evening.

Bethel’s Sarah Clark, Bekah Basinger, Seyfred and Yoder combined for 63 of the Lady Pilot’s 68 points.

Grace outrebounded Bethel on the offensive glass 19-9 and 46-39 overall.

The Lady Lancers, sitting in seventh place in the MCC, return to action on Saturday at Marian University for a 1 p.m. start.

Lady Lancers Drop Nailbiter to Indiana Wesleyan


MARION, Ind. – Grace had two shots in the final seconds to take down No. 8 Indiana Wesleyan on the road but failed to convert and left Marion, Ind., with a 55-54 defeat.

The Lady Lancers (12-9; 3-5 MCC) grabbed an opportunity to record the upset after stealing an inbounds pass with less than 10 seconds to play and trailing by one point.

After a few fouls by the Wildcats (18-3; 7-1 MCC) to slow Grace's momentum, the Lady Lancers found an open Autumn Heflin behind the three-point line. Her shot was off the mark, but Hannah Lengel flashed into the paint to snag an offensive board; her putback attempt, however, did not fall. The ball fumbled around and fell out of bounds as time expired before Grace could secure a third shot.

"It was a difficult loss, but I'm very proud of the ladies," said head coach Scott Blum. "They ran our game plan and battled. When we play that way, we can beat any team in the country."

Grace dominated the game early, using a 15-2 run to pull ahead 19-8 just 12 minutes into the game. The spree was fueled by five 3-pointers, including two from Hayley Cashier.

Grace could only afford five points for the final eight minutes of the half, however, as Indiana Wesleyan recovered to take a 26-24 lead at the break. The Lady Lancers committed 11 turnovers in the first half, leading to 14 points off turnovers by the Wildcats.

The ability to hit the three kept the Lady Lancers in the game. They nailed 9 of 16 (56.3 percent) overall, including six treys in the opening period. Grace quickly erased a late eight-point deficit with a trio of 3-pointers from Heflin, Juaneice Jackson, and Kate Ball. Ball's 3-pointer with 2:11 remaining gave Grace a 54-53 lead, which would prove to be Grace's final points of the game.

"We definitely came ready to play today. We played with some passion and did not keep our heads down," Blum continued. "We had the last shot at the end of the game, and it just didn't go in. It was a tough loss, but I'm very pleased and proud."

Cashier, Jackson, and Danielle Boykin tied for scoring honors for Grace with 10 points apiece. Cashier also recorded 7 points, 4 assists, and 0 turnovers. Kiera Gray tallied nine points, and Heflin added six points and four assists.

After giving up double-digit turnovers in the first half, Grace handled the ball well in the second half with only five turnovers.

The Lady Lancers return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Mishawaka, Ind., to take on Bethel College as a part of a doubleheader with the men. The women tip-off at 6 p.m.

Cold Streak Dooms Grace against No. 8 St. Francis


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Lady Lancers spurted out to a 10-2 lead to start the game against No. 8 St. Francis but quickly hit a road block and never fully recovered, falling 64-43 on Saturday.

Danielle Boykin capped off Grace's fast start with a bucket five minutes into the game. But over the next 9:42, the Lady Lancers (12-8; 3-4 MCC) scored zero points. Grace committed nine turnovers, missed nine shots, and yielded 17 unanswered points from the Cougars (17-4; 6-1 MCC) during that stretch.

Kiera Gray stopped St. Francis's run with a three-pointer with five minutes remaining in the half, but Grace never got closer than six points the rest of the game.

"At the start of the game, we executed the game plan and slowed the ball down," said head coach Scott Blum. "We did what we wanted, but then things didn't go as well, and we put our heads down and stopped executing."

In the first half, the Lady Lancers shot a woeful 22.2 percent from the field, hitting only six of their 27 attempts. Grace's effort (eight offensive boards) and play on the defensive end (six steals) kept the first half within reach, but the women struggled to handle St. Francis's full-court pressure, which resulted in 10 first-half turnovers.

St. Francis outpaced Grace in the second half and led by as many as 23. The Cougars nailed seven three-pointers and had two more rebounds than the Lady Lancers.

Boykin led Grace in scoring with 10 points to go along with six rebounds. Hayley Cashier added eight points and five boards, and Gray chipped in seven points.

Overall, the Lady Lancers hit 26.3 percent of their shot attempts, 22.2 percent from beyond the arc, and 56.3 percent from the free throw line. Grace grabbed 15 offensive rebounds, nine of which came from Boykin and Morgan DiAntonio.

"Today, we did not play as a team. We have to stay strong together," Blum continued. "We will let this game go and move on and start playing together."

The Lady Lancers begin a series of four straight games on the road, starting on Wednesday against Indiana Wesleyan University. Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Grace Outmuscles Spring Arbor


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace made up for a poor shooting performance by grabbing 43 rebounds – 19 more than Spring Arbor – en route to a 62-50 victory on Wednesday.

Despite connecting on only 37.7 percent of their attempts from the field, the Lady Lancers (12-7; 3-3 MCC) collected 18 offensive rebounds to aid their effort. Grace stayed in front of Spring Arbor the entire second half, but the Cougars (8-12; 2-5 MCC) made the game interesting with a late push. Back-to-back buckets by Spring Arbor's Melissa Tejkl cut the deficit to six with 4:58 remaining. But Kiera Gray responded with a 3-pointer on Grace's next possession to give the Lady Lancers the cushion they needed.

"Any time you can get a win in conference, it's a good win," said head coach Scott Blum. "You can't take anybody lightly, and Spring Arbor played us very hard. It was nice to see our girls hustle and get us those boards -- it gave us a lot of second-chance points."

The Lady Lancers, who returned to the receiving votes section of the NAIA Division II poll this week, never allowed the Cougars to get closer than six in the second half. Grace's defense forced Spring Arbor into 16 turnovers, including five by their leading scorer Tejkl, and their hustle on the offensive glass provided 11 more shot attempts for Grace's offense.

Hayley Cashier earned her fifth double-double of the year with 13 points and 11 rebounds. She has reached double-figure scoring 14 times this season. Hannah Lengel finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, Autumn Heflin added seven points and four assists, and Juaneice Jackson chipped in nine points. Rachel Striebich contributed five points and five boards in 14 minutes off the bench to help lessen the absence of Danielle Boykin, who is at home receiving medical attention. The team is hopeful to have Boykin return this weekend.

"Tonight was another good team win for us," Blum continued. "We'll need that same effort on Saturday. We know we can play with Saint Francis, and our ladies are not afraid."

The Lady Lancers will take on No. 8 University of Saint Francis on Saturday. Game time at the Orthopaedic Capital Center is set for 1 p.m.

Lady Lancers Fall Short at Taylor


UPLAND, Ind. – A strong start wasn’t enough as the Lady Lancers fell 61-77 to Taylor University on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (11-7; 2-3 MCC) jumped out to a 10-4 lead and controlled most of the first half. However, shooting went cold as Grace went nearly five minutes without a field goal.

Grace led by as many as six, but Taylor (12-8; 3-3 MCC) tallied 12 offensive rebounds in the half to take a 36-28 lead at the break.

Grace cut the deficit to three with 15:31 remaining, but Taylor began to pull away behind excellent shooting from the free throw line going 19-20 in the half and 26-27 in the game.

The Lady Lancers had three players in double figures. Kiera Gray led the team with 16 points and three assists while Hayley Cashier added 14 points and six rebounds. Danielle Boykin also chipped in 10 points for Grace.

“We rebounded better in the second half, but they played with more urgency than we did today,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We will learn from this and bounce back.”

Grace continues conference play at home as they host Spring Arbor University on Jan. 12 at 7 p.m.

Gray's Clutch Performance Lifts Grace in Overtime


GOSHEN, Ind. – Kiera Gray scored Grace's final six points in overtime to help the Lady Lancers hold off Goshen College 79-78 on Thursday.

The Lady Lancers (11-6; 2-2 MCC) battled and stayed in front for the majority of the game before the Maple Leafs (4-14; 0-4 MCC) pulled off a bucket with three seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Grace struck first in overtime with a three-pointer from Hannah Lengel, who tied a season-high with 16 points. Goshen responded and tied the game at 73-73 before Gray put an end to the game. She sank a huge shot from beyond the arc to lift the Lady Lancers by three with 1:06 remaining.

After Goshen tied the game with a trey on the ensuing possession, Gray finished a bucket in the lane with 12 seconds left to put Grace up 78-76. Goshen was fouled with one second remaining but failed to convert both free throws and seal the win for the Lady Lancers.

"Our girls had a great team effort tonight," said head coach Scott Blum. "We were focused and concentrated at the end. We played to win tonight, and I was proud of the ladies."

The win snaps a three-game losing streak for Grace, who had three players in double figures. Gray finished with a season-high 21 points. She hit 7 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. Hayley Cashier scored 12 of her 14 points in the first half to go along with nine rebounds.

The Lady Lancers forced Goshen into 20 turnovers and sank 10 three-pointers, including three from Lengel.

"Every shot (Kiera) shot was within the team concept, and she gave us a huge lift," Blum continued. "We had key contributions from everyone, and we handled pressure in this dogfight."

The Lady Lancers return to action on Saturday when they travel to Upland, Ind., to take on Taylor University at 1 p.m.

Grace Falls to Huntington in Overtime


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s momentous second-half comeback wasn’t enough to get a victory against conference opponent Huntington University on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers (10-6; 1-2 MCC), despite a massive 19-0 second-half charge and a buzzer-beater jumper to send the game into overtime, fell to Huntington down the stretch 84-79 for their third straight loss.

Down by four points with only 10 seconds left, Jayla Starks got an offensive rebound and made a put-back layup to make the score 71-69. Grace’s full-court pressure startled the Lady Foresters (10-5; 2-1 MCC), and Grace’s Juaneice Jackson stole the inbounds pass, then made a 10-footer on the baseline as time expired.

The game came down to the wire partially because of Grace’s sluggish first half start. The Lady Lancers yielded a 15-2 run late in the first period and trailed 42-23 at halftime.

“We can’t afford to start games like that, especially in our conference,” said head coach Scott Blum. “I was pleased with our effort in the second half, but it’s tough to win games when you have a rocky start like the one we did.”

Grace trailed 45-25 at the start of the second half, then mounted a 19-0 run to cut the deficit to one point. The final 13 minutes of the second period featured four ties and five lead changes before the Lady Lancers’ buzzer-beater at the end.

Huntington, however, won the game down the stretch at the charity stripe and drained four free throws to finish off Grace in overtime.

The Foresters only dressed six players on the evening but still managed to earn their third straight victory.

Hayley Cashier led Grace with 26 points on 11 of 17 shooting and nine rebounds. Jackson added 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting, and Danielle Boykin chipped in 12 points and grabbed six boards. Huntington’s Sarah Miller led the game with 31 points.

Grace outscored Huntington 54-40 in the paint, 18-11 in points off turnovers and 25-2 off the bench.

The Lady Lancers will travel to conference opponent Goshen College on Thursday for a 7 p.m. start. 

Grace Settles for Fourth in Holiday Tourney


CHICAGO, Ill. – Grace got off to a slow start in their 66-55 loss against the University of Saint Francis (Ill.) at the SXU Holiday Tournament on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers (10-5) staggered out of the gate and only scored four points in the first 11 minutes of play to trail 27-17 at the break.

“We just didn’t show up in the first half,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We didn’t play aggressive and took bad shots. Our tough game last night took a lot out of us, and we were playing short-handed.”

The Fighting Saints (7-10) exploded at the start of the second period and mounted a 14-4 run in the first five minutes to build a 20-point lead. They held a comfortable lead over Grace for the next 10 minutes before the Lady Lancers closed the game on a 15-8 run to make the final score more respectable.

“The second half, we got down by 20 points early but tried to make a run at the end,” Blum continued. “We started playing hard and just ran out of steam. It was a tough loss last night, and we just struggled to bounce back.”

Grace had 24 turnovers, eight more than Saint Francis. The Fighting Saints also outscored Grace from the charity stripe 17-6 and attempted 15 more free throws.

Hayley Cashier led the Lady Lancers with 14 points and 14 rebounds, her fourth double-double of the year. Autumn Heflin added 10 points on 4 of 7 shooting, and Emily Bidwell also chipped in 10 points and grabbed six boards.

After a victory over Calumet College of St. Joseph on Monday followed by two consecutive losses, Grace took fourth place in the eight-team tournament. Bidwell was named to the 2010 Holiday All-Tournament Team.

The Lady Lancers will return to conference play at home against Huntington University on Jan. 4. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

Lady Lancers Falter in Upset Bid


CHICAGO, Ill. – Leading by 10 points in the second half to (NAIA Division I) No. 5 Saint Xavier, it appeared that Grace was on its way to a major upset. However, the Lady Lancers (10-4) stumbled in their finish and lost 69-59 to the host school in the Saint Xavier Holiday Tournament.

Grace, who was seeking its fourth straight victory and eighth win in its past nine games, controlled nearly all of the first half and found themselves leading 48-38 with 14:02 remaining in the game. But the Cougars (9-4) proceeded to rattle off 16 of the game's next 18 points to seize control. Saint Xavier finished the game on a 24-9 run and iced the game with 12 of those points from the free throw line. The Lady Lancers, on the other hand, struggled with 21.2 percent shooting in the second half.

"We played our system well in the first half, but we just couldn't buy a basket in the second half," said head coach Scott Blum. "We weren't real aggressive and got in foul issues. We still had a great effort and battled all the way to the end."

Grace scored seven straight points to start the game and maintained their advantage throughout the first half. They nailed 46.2 percent of their shots and 10 of 11 of their free throw attempts to aid their cause. They led by as many as 11 points and went into the locker room with a 35-28 lead.

Danielle Boykin highlighted Grace's offense with 16 points. She also grabbed seven rebounds, five of which came on the offensive end. Hayley Cashier nearly had a double-double with seven points and 10 rebounds, and Hannah Lengel produced eight points and five assists. Overall, Grace's bench outscored its opponent 17-0.

"We did a lot of great things today but unfortunately came up short," Blum continued. "We'll focus on bouncing back tomorrow and going 2-1 in this tournament."

The Lady Lancers will play in the third-place game on Wednesday against Saint Francis (Ill.). Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Second-Half Surge Gives Grace 10th Win


CHICAGO, Ill. – Grace’s women’s basketball team reached double-digit victories with a 57-47 win over Calumet College of St. Joseph in the Saint Xavier University Holiday Tournament.

The Lady Lancers continued their program record-shattering pace and advanced to 10-3 on the season to equal Grace’s win total from all of last season.

Hayley Cashier helped the Lady Lancers overcome a slow start and finished with a game-high 17 points and six rebounds to lead Grace.    

“We just had a sluggish start to the first half. We took a lot of jumpshots and didn’t go inside where our strength is,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We talked about to win this game, we have to get points in the paint, and we did that in the second half.”  

 The Crimson Wave (4-10) led throughout most of the first half and held the Lady Lancers to 30.0 percent (9 of 30) shooting from the field. Grace surrendered 14 first-half points in the paint and eight points off turnovers to their opponent. Calumet-St. Joseph led 29-23 at the break.

However, Grace began to find its rhythm quickly in the second half and took the lead with 13:40 remaining and never surrendered it again. The Lady Lancers opened up a double-digit lead and used a 16-2 run to blow past the Crimson Wave.

“It was a great team effort in the second half,” Blum continued. “Defensively, we contained them and held them to one shot.” 

Grace poured in 23 points off the bench in the second half. Danielle Boykin gave Grace a spark with all eight of her points after the break to go along with eight boards. Juaneice Jackson (7 points) and Jayla Starks (6 points) also provided for Grace’s bench.

Overall, the Lady Lancers grabbed 40 rebounds and held a plus-6 advantage on the glass. They also found their marksmanship in the second half, connecting on 44.8 percent (13 of 29) of their attempts. Grace gave up only four points in the paint in the second half.

Grace will play the nightcap on Tuesday in the three-day SXU Holiday Tournament. They will take on the host Saint Xavier (Ill.) at 8 p.m. with the winner to play in the championship game on Wednesday.

Grace Pounds Roosevelt


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace jumped to an early 17-6 lead and never looked back, routing Roosevelt University 93-79 on Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Lancers (9-3) trailed in the first minute of the game before mounting a 17-3 charge to take the lead for good. Grace maintained a double-figures lead for the majority of the game and led by as many as 22 points.

“It was a team effort and team victory,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We did a nice job of getting the ball inside. And when we are hitting our outside shots with our inside presence, we will be tough to beat.”

Hannah Lengel paced the Lady Lancers in the first half and showed poise during Roosevelt’s press. On 4 of 5 shooting, she totaled 11 of her 15 points in the first half and had no turnovers. Grace only had four turnovers entering halftime and held a comfortable 51-34 advantage.

“We emphasized taking care of the basketball before the game,” Blum said. “They are the type of team that scores off of turnovers and in transition. That’s what we really focused on in the first half. Hannah and JJ (Juaneice Jackson) did a great job in the first half of getting us into our sets.”

The Lady Lakers (6-4) tried to spark several runs in the second half, but Grace continually built their lead back up to 20 points or more.  Grace had a 91-70 lead with 2:37 remaining before the Lady Lancers put their subs on the floor.

Grace’s post players dominated in the paint, outscoring Roosevelt 50-32. Hayley Cashier and Danielle Boykin led the Lady Lancers with 18 points apiece. Boykin also grabbed nine boards.

Kiera Gray added 11 points in 16 minutes, and Jackson and Autumn Heflin chipped in eight points apiece off the bench.

Grace outscored Roosevelt’s bench 27-14.

The Lady Lancers return to action after Christmas for the three-day St. Xavier Tournament on Dec. 27-29.

Lady Lancers Control Game, Defeat Marian


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace tallied a season-low nine turnovers in their 62-46 victory against Marian University on Saturday, who is receiving votes in the latest NAIA poll. 

“Our team has struggled in the past when it comes to turnovers,” said head coach Scott Blum. “Having nine turnovers against a quality team like Marian is a very positive sign. I’m very proud of our girls.”

The Lady Lancers (8-3; 1-1 MCC) trailed 4-2 at the beginning but took the lead with 16 minutes left in the first half and never trailed the rest of the game. Grace steadily built their lead in the first period and led 34-25 at halftime.

Grace led by double-figures the majority of the second half and never let the game get close. The Lady Knights (5-4; 1-2 MCC) cut Grace’s lead to nine points with nine minutes remaining, but Grace called a timeout, and the Lady Lancers mounted an 8-0 run to put the game out of reach.

“When I called the timeout, our five on the floor looked a little fatigued,” Blum continued. “We took the time to catch our breath and ran motion four or five times in a row after the timeout. We got several layups in a row that probably deflated them.”

Kiera Gray had a game-high 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting, and Danielle Boykin totaled 14 points. Autumn Heflin chipped in nine points on 4 of 5 shooting, and Juaneice Jackson added eight points.

Defensively, it’s the fourth time Grace has held their opponent under 50 points. The Lady Lancers outscored Marian 23-14 off the bench and 34-16 in the paint.

“This win was huge,” Blum said. “Marian is a very good basketball team. It was good to see our girls build a lead and maintain the lead throughout the rest of the game.”

Grace returns to action at home next Saturday against nonconference opponent Roosevelt University at 2 p.m.

Lady Lancers Slip in Second Half to No. 16 Bethel


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After a strong start to Grace’s game against rival Bethel College, the Lady Lancers fell away in the second half to lose 74-69 on Wednesday.

Grace sprinted out of the gate with a 19-6 run to start the game. They maintained a comfortable lead over No. 16 Bethel throughout the opening half due in large part to shooting 51.4 percent from the field.

Back-to-back buckets by Danielle Boykin gave the Lady Lancers (7-3; 0-1 MCC) their largest lead of the game at 44-29 with 1:47 remaining in the half. Boykin tallied 14 of her game-high 16 points in the first half. However, the Lady Pilots (7-3; 2-0 MCC) responded with eight points in just over a minute to trim Grace’s lead to seven at the break.

Bethel continued to chip away at Grace’s lead in the second half and employed a full-court defense that pressured the Lady Lancers into 15 second-half turnovers. Despite the turnovers, Bethel did not grab their first lead until 9:47 left in the game.

The Lady Lancers, who are receiving votes this week in the national poll for the first time in the program’s history, battled back to take a 64-63 lead off an Emily Bidwell basket with 3:24 to play. But the Lady Pilots responded with a 9-0 run to seal the victory.

The Lady Pilots nailed 14 of 23 attempts (60.9 percent) in the second half and forced the Lady Lancers into 25 turnovers in the game. Overall, Grace outrebounded Bethel 33-24, led by a game-high eight boards from Hayley Cashier. She tallied 11 points, as well.

Kiera Gray scored 11 points on 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. Hannah Lengel recorded seven assists, five points, and four rebounds, and Emily Bidwell added nine points. The Lady Lancers return to action on Saturday when they welcome Marian University to the Orthopaedic Capital Center for a 1 p.m. tip-off. 

Grace Wins Fourth Straight


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- After a rocky first half, Grace's women's basketball team regrouped to run away with an 85-62 win over Trinity Christian on Tuesday.

 The Lady Lancers (7-2) turned the ball over 12 times in the first half but managed to hold onto a double-digit lead at the half. But Grace took control after the break, using an 11-2 run and an 8-0 run to pull away from the Trolls (1-7).

 "We slowed the ball down and took care of it in the second half," said head coach Scott Blum. "We came out focused and were much more patient with the basketball."

 Kiera Gray was a major spark in the first half for Grace. She tallied all 12 of her points in eight minutes, connecting on 4 of 6 from the field. The Lady Lancers also held a significant advantage on the glass, outrebounding Trinity 24-12 in the first half. Overall, Grace held a plus-14 advantage on the boards including grabbing 17 offensive rebounds.

 After struggling with turnovers in the first half, Grace responded with only five second-half turnovers. Hannah Lengel led all scorers with 16 points with four 3-pointers. She was one of four players with double-digit scoring. Danielle Boykin recorded 14 points, and Hayley Cashier added 10 to go along with nine rebounds.

 Morgan DiAntonio had a solid all-around performance with four points, five boards, and a game-high five assists, and Emily Bidwell netted eight points and seven rebounds.

 "This was another team win for us," Blum said. "That is what we have to do this year to be successful. When we distribute the ball, we will do well."

 Grace is off to one of their best starts in Blum's coaching career at Grace. One year ago, the Lady Lancers did not grab their seventh win of the season until January 9, but Grace has reached that mark this year in the nonconference season.

 "This gives us some real confidence after the past few years," Blum continued. "It was a confidence issue, but now we have to have a swagger -- not cocky but confident."

 The Lady Lancers resume play next week on Dec. 1 to kick off the conference season against rival Bethel College. The game will be a doubleheader between the women's and men's basketball teams. The women's game will tip-off at 6 p.m. and can be heard live here.

Lady Lancers Take Home Tourney Title


ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Grace's women's basketball team secured its first tournament championship on the road in recent memory with a 69-40 victory over Rochester College.

The Lady Lancers (6-2) used one of their best defensive efforts of the season to hold Rochester to 18 points on 17 percent shooting in the second half to pull away from the Lady Warriors (4-2). Grace forced Rochester into 20 turnovers while yielding only 13 of their own.

"We wanted to continue tonight where we left off last night, and I think we did that," said head coach Scott Blum. "We maintained our offense and executed well. Our defense picked it up in the second half, and we secured a really good team win. I'm very proud of the girls." 

Grace grabbed the lead for good five minutes into the game and slowly began to pull away, going into the locker room with a 20-point lead at 42-22.

Hayley Cashier once again led Grace on offense, tying last night's career-high 20 points. She nailed 8 of 11 from the field, including a three-pointer, and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Danielle Boykin was the only other player to score in double figures for Grace with 10 points

Ten of the 16 players who saw action on the court scored for the Lady Lancers. Freshman Rachel Striebich made the most of her minutes with eight points and five rebounds in 11 minutes. No Lady Lancer played for more than 20 minutes.

Overall, Grace held a plus-17 advantage on the boards. They also snatched 12 steals, including three from Autumn Heflin. 

The Lady Lancers return to action on Tuesday as they welcome Trinity Christian to the Orthopaedic Capital Center for a 7 p.m. tip-off. Listen to the radio broadcast of the game on Stretch Internet here.

Grace Wins as Cashier Nets Career High


ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Hayley Cashier continued her torrid start to the season with a career-high 20 points, including four straight free throws in the final 15 seconds to ice Grace's 68-63 win over Concordia University.

After struggling with their shooting touch in the first half, the Lady Lancers (5-2) found themselves down by six at the half. Grace was fortunate not to be down by more after the Lady Cardinals (2-4) connected on 53.6 percent of their shots in the half.

But Grace began to find their rhythm after halftime as a bucket by Cashier capped off a 6-0 run to start the half and give Grace a 35-34 lead with over 16 minutes remaining. However, that lead proved to be the last Grace would enjoy for the next 11 minutes. But after regaining the lead at the 4:16 mark, the Lady Lancers made free throws to ice the win. Grace tightened their grip on the basketball in clutch time, committing only a single turnover in the final 6:30.

"The first half, they just ran the ball up the floor and made easy shots," said head coach Scott Blum. "They had a good gameplan, but we got back in the second half and had a great effort defensively. It was nice to win a game where we had to come from behind like that."

Cashier's career-high came on the heels of a 17-point performance one game prior against Siena Heights -- which was her previous career high. She shot 7 of 12 from the field and also grabbed a game-high 11 boards.

"I knew Hayley had it in her," Blum continued. "It was just a case of bringing it from the practice floor to the playing floor. She hit some big free throws down the stretch for us tonight."

Freshman Juaneice Jackson provided a spark off the bench with 13 points and three assists in 21 minutes. Emily Bidwell tallied 11 points and six rebounds.

Grace had their best ball-handling game of the young season, recording a season-low 16 turnovers while forcing Concordia into 17. The Lady Lancers also crashed the glass hard, especially on the offensive boards where they secured 15 offensive rebounds. Overall, Grace outrebounded Concordia 38-29.

The Lady Lancers return to action on Saturday in the championship game of the CUAA Tournament against Rochester College (Mich.) at 2 p.m. 

Front Court Dominates in Lady Lancer Victory


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s post players controlled the floor in a win for the women’s basketball team on Tuesday night.

The Lady Lancers (4-2) topped Siena Heights University 67-52 in a dominating performance. Led by Hayley Cashier, the Lancers gained the lead halfway through the first half and never looked back.

Grace started slowly out of the gate, falling behind 13-7 through the first five minutes. But the Lady Lancers hit their stride rapidly after that, beginning a 28-6 run that signaled the end for the Saints (0-2).

At the half the Lady Lancers had just 5 turnovers but recorded 15 in the second half. The team’s aggressive defense, however, helped out by forcing 20 turnovers against Siena Heights.

 “Besides one stretch in the second half, we played very well,” Forbes said. “Every team is going to get hot at one point in the game. Siena picked up the pressure, we just had to be able to respond, and we did tonight.”

Cashier led all players with 17 points and 13 rebounds. She connected on 8 of 14 from the field and also recorded four steals.

But Cashier was not the only post to play well for Grace. Also helping out down low was Emily Bidwell and Danielle Boykin. Bidwell had 12 points and 7 rebounds, and Boykin tallied 8 points. Overall, the Lady Lancers had a 14-rebound advantage and grabbed 14 offensive boards.

Freshman Juaneice Jackson had one of her best games of her young career with 12 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds.

“We are excited about Juaneice. She is going to be a special player,” said assistant coach Skip Forbes. “Everyone played very well tonight, and we are looking forward to this weekend.”

The Lady Lancers return to action at the Concordia (Mich.) University Tournament. The games will start on Friday, as Grace takes on the host Concordia at 4 p.m.

Grace Struggles at Davenport Tourney


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Grace dropped another close game on Saturday in the consolation game of the Davenport University Tournament.

In a back-and-forth game that featured 10 ties, the Lady Lancers (3-2) fell to Trinity International 73-68 for their second straight loss.

Similar to yesterday's loss to Robert Morris, Grace again led for the majority of the game. Grace took a 25-24 lead with five minutes remaining in the first half and led until there was only seven minutes left in the game when the Lady Trojans (3-4) took a 59-57 advantage. Grace tied the score three more times but couldn't regain the lead.

"We had a lead most of the game," said head coach Scott Blum. "It's a little disappointing that we had a defensive letdown. The offense is there. We just need to take care of the ball better."

Kiera Gray had a solid performance for Grace, totaling 17 points in 26 minutes of play on 8 of 15 shooting. Danielle Boykin added 11 points and Emily Bidwell had 10. Hayley Cashier added nine points and grabbed seven boards. For her play, Boykin was named to the All-Tournament team.

Grace struggled defensively and yielded 17 Trinity International points in the final seven minutes of play.

"We didn't have any defensive mindset," Blum continued. " We played kinda soft. We didn't box out. But we can fix some of the little things, and it is early in the year."

After four games on the road, Grace will play Siena Heights at home on Tuesday. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Lady Lancers Drop First of the Year


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- After winning the first three games of the season, Grace dropped its first of the year on Friday evening.

The Lady Lancers (3-1) led the majority of the game but yielded a 17-2 run by Robert Morris in the second half to fall 73-65 in the opening round of the Davenport University Tournament.

"It was a frustrating loss for us," said head coach Scott Blum. "We need to make some changes, take care of the ball better and prepare for tomorrow's game."

Grace jumped to an 11-2 lead at the start of the game and built a 24-9 lead with 10:56 remaining in the first period, their largest lead of the game. The Lady Eagles (4-1), however, slowly climbed back and only trailed Grace 35-30 at halftime.

In the second period, Grace again started off strong. Robert Morris cut the lead to one point with 16 minutes left, but the Lady Lancers responded with a 13-1 run to take a comfortable 56-44 lead with 12:37 remaining in the game.

That's when the Lady Eagles mounted a massive 15-2 run to take their first lead of the game with only seven minutes to play. They built a double-figures lead in the final seconds to terminate all hope of a late Lady Lancer comeback.

Grace had 24 turnovers to Robert Morris' 13. The Lady Lancers also had a rare shooting performance, only making six 3-pointers in 23 attempts.

Nine different players scored for Grace, but only one finished in double-figures. Hayley Cashier led Grace with 11 points and nine rebounds, and Hannah Lengel and Kate Ball tallied eight points apiece. Emily Bidwell had eight rebounds.

The Lady Lancers will face Trinity International in the consolation game tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Grace Pulls Off Hard-Fought Win


SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Playing their toughest opponent of the season, Grace's women's basketball team led for most of the game and came out with a 43-41 victory over IU-South Bend.

The Lady Lancers (3-0) were in front for all but six minutes of the game and led by as many as 12 in a close game. Grace held the Lady Titans (1-2) to 28 percent shooting from the field.

"We won the game on defense," said head coach Scott Blum. "Our defense was awesome. It was an absolute team effort, and the girls deserved it."

IU-South Bend, who defeated No. 18 Bethel College by 10 points and narrowly lost to No. 3 Indiana Wesleyan in overtime earlier this season, jumped out to a 5-0 lead. But Grace quickly recovered and regained the lead, never to surrender it. The Lady Lancers went into the half up 19-18.

Grace stormed out of the gate in the second half with a 10-0 run and gradually pushed the lead up to 12 points, holding a 34-22 advantage with 13:29 remaining.

However, the Lady Titans demonstrated why they are receiving votes in the NAIA Div. I poll and responded with a 13-2 run over the next 10 minutes to bring the score to 36-35 with just over three minutes left.

But Kiera Gray nailed a crucial three-pointer to give the Lady Lancers some breathing room, and Grace survived a desperation shot to hold on for the win.

"I'm extremely proud of this team. This is probably the best team victory since I've been here," Blum continued. "The girls have been growing, and tonight they found ways to win games. They played to win and not to lose -- it was good to see that mentality."

Senior Autumn Heflin led all scorers with nine points. She nailed all three of her shots from beyond the arc and recorded three boards and two steals. Hayley Cashier's well-rounded night included three assists, four points and seven rebounds.

The Lady Lancers committed 24 turnovers but also forced IU-South Bend into 21, as well. Grace shot 37.8 percent from the field and outrebounded their opponent by four.

Grace will return to action on Friday and Saturday at the Davenport University Tournament. The women will take on Robert Morris on Friday at 5:30 p.m.

Lady Lancers Run Away with Homecoming Victory


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College women's basketball jumped to a lead right from the get-go and never looked back, defeating Ohio University-Eastern 79-45.

Entering halftime with a 15-point lead, the game looked similar to last year's homecoming matchup, when Grace held a 14-point lead at the break and only defeated Ohio University-Eastern by six points.

Grace, however, didn't let the visiting Lady Panthers (1-1) back in the game this year, and outscored them 39-20 in the second period.

"Last year, we got a big lead and let them back into it," said head coach Scott Blum, who was inducted into Grace's Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday morning. "We talked about our defensive intensity and wanting to continue to execute our offense."

The Lady Lancers (2-0) sparked a 10-0 run at the start of the second period to build a comfortable 50-25 lead and later built a 35-point advantage with two minutes remaining.

Grace countered several near-comebacks in the first half. After OU-Eastern cut Grace's lead to one point midway into the period,  the Lady Lancers responded with a 10-1 run to build the lead back to double digits. They kept the lead in double-figures the majority of the first half before OU-Eastern cut it to eight points with 1:22 remaining. Again, Grace responded and closed out the half on a 7-0 run to take a demanding 40-25 advantage at halftime. OU-Eastern didn't lead or tie throughout the entire game.

OU-Eastern was able to stay in the game the first period partially because of Grace's 12 turnovers in the first half. Grace played a much cleaner second half and only turned the ball over seven times.

Grace continued to pound the ball into the post, outscoring OU-Eastern 34-20 in the paint. Their inside presence created an effective inside-out flow to their offense, and Grace was also able to knock down nine of their 15 three pointers in the game. Grace has shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc in both of their regular season games.

"I really wanted to make sure we got the ball inside," Blum said. "I thought we did a good job of establishing the inside of the game. That has helped us knock down some outside shots."

Kiera Gray, after redshirting last season, tallied 14 points on 3 of 5 shooting from the 3-point line in only 14 minutes of play. Hayley Cashier tallied 13 points and also drained two three-pointers. Juaneice Jackson and Kate Ball tallied nine points apiece.

Grace is back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Indiana University-South Bend at 7 p.m.

Grace Can't Overcome Slow Start against Valpo


VALPARAISO, Ind. – Grace's women's basketball team had a difficult assignment playing on the road against NCAA Div. I Valparaiso University for their first away game of the season.

Despite an ice-cold start to the game, the Lady Lancers recovered to put up a strong showing and fell 70-46 on Tuesday night to the Lady Crusaders.

"Overall, I was very pleased with our performance tonight," said head coach Scott Blum. "I knew we would be nervous to start the game, but our defense really kept us in the game. We executed our offense, but our shots just didn't go in, which changed the whole game."

Grace was held scoreless through nearly the first eight minutes of the game and found themselves behind 12-0 early. However, a 5-0 run by Grace midway through the opening period cut the margin to nine points.

Grace's strong defense helped negate a poor shooting performance in the first half (26.1 percent) to keep the score manageable at the half as the Lady Crusaders went into the locker room up 30-18.

The second half swung gradually in favor of Valparaiso as they grabbed a 28-point lead with 6:27 remaining in the game. The Lady Lancers showed remarkable poise to go on a 10-0 run over the next two minutes to cut the deficit to 62-44 courtesy of a trio of three-pointers. That was the closest Grace would come the rest of the game.

"Our girls enjoyed themselves a lot playing in this type of atmosphere," Blum continued. "We made adjustments in the second half, including only six turnovers after the break. If we learn how to have composure and be strong with the basketball, we will get what we need to out of this game. We're heading in the right direction."

Hayley Cashier tied for scoring honors with 14 points, including 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. She also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Kiera Gray played well in limited minutes with 13 points in 17 minutes.

The Lady Lancers struggled on the boards, giving up 14 more rebounds to Valparaiso. The Lady Crusaders grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and committed only 12 turnovers.

Grace will return to action this Saturday for their homecoming game against Ohio University-Eastern. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m., and the radio broadcast can be found here.

Perimeter Shooting Gives Grace Season-Opening Win


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's sharp 3-point shooting kept the Lady Lancers in the game on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers (1-0) drained 6-of-9 from beyond the arc in the second half, including a momentous four-point play by Autumn Heflin and back-to-back three pointers by freshman Juaneice Jackson to give them a 70-75 victory against Holy Cross in their season opener.

"When (Jackson) came in and hit those two threes, that was a huge spark for us," said head coach Scott Blum. "That was the turning point of the game. We never felt like we were going to lose the game, but we just hung in there."

The Lady Saints (0-1) took an eight point lead in the second period, the largest of the game, but Grace's outside shooting kept the deficit in single digits. The game was tied 67-67 with 1:54 remaining when Morgan DiAntonio grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the put back, giving Grace a 69-67 advantage. Hayley Cashier drained four clutch free throws down the stretch to put the game out of reach for Holy Cross.

Grace racked up 21 turnovers in the game but shot 46 percent from the floor in the second period to keep their hopes alive. 

"They packed it in and forced us to make some bad passes in the first half," Blum continued. "Fortunately, things opened up in the second half, and we were able to hit some outside shots."

Autumn Heflin led all players from the 3-point line, draining 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and totaling 17 points. Jackson had 11 points in her first collegiate game on 2 of 4 shooting from beyond the arc and led the Lady Lancers with five assists. Emily Bidwell had 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

The Lady Lancers outscored Holy Cross's bench 42-11.

Grace's win is the first time they have opened up with a victory in their season opener since 2005.

They return to action against NCAA Division I Valparaiso University next Tuesday at 7 p.m.