Grimm, Boykin receive honorable mention All-American status


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Bruce Grimm Jr. and Danielle Boykin were both given honorable mention status as NAIA All-Americans to conclude their outstanding 2011-12 campaigns.

Grimm was also named First Team NCCAA All-American while Boykin earned Second Team All-American honors from the NCCAA.

Grimm led the Lancers to a 24-8 record and a second-straight appearance in the NAIA National Championships. He also sparked Grace to their first Mid-Central College Conference Tournament championship with a career-high 35 points against Saint Francis.

For the season, Grimm tallied 18.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He also went over 1,000 career points as a Lancer in just his second season, finishing the year with 1,003 career points.

Boykin was one of the primary reasons Grace’s women’s basketball team enjoyed its best season ever. Her 10.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game were second on the team, and she also hit 44 percent of her attempts from the field and 81 percent of her free throws.

The Lady Lancers finished with their first winning season since 1991-92, and they recorded their first 20-win season in program history with a final 20-15 record.

Grace went to their fourth consecutive NCCAA National Championship and had their best showing ever with a third-place finish in the tournament.

Grace seals first 20-win season, third place in season finale


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace perfectly capped off a season to remember with a 59-49 win over Mount Vernon Nazarene University to clinch third place in the NCCAA National Championships on Saturday.

With the win, the Lady Lancers (20-15) earned their first 20-win season in program history as well as their best tournament finish ever.

As icing on the cake, senior point guard Hannah Lengel tallied her 1,000th career point in the second half and led the team with 16 points.

"I don't think we could have written a better script for these seniors than to win 20 games. It's such an accomplishment," said head coach Scott Blum. "I told the girls that you won the last game of the year and not every team gets to say that. It was a great ending to the season."

Grae's defense was stifling, limiting the Cougars (18-15) to 28.8 percent shooting from the floor and forcing Mount Vernon into 21 turnovers.

Mount Vernon's Sierra Fletcher started the game with one of her seven 3-pointers in the contest, but Grace soon took control and led by eight with five minutes remaining in the half. Mount Vernon trimmed that deficit to 25-21 at the halftime break thanks to a layup by Ainsleigh Krause in the final seconds.

Emily Steveley gave Mount Vernon their only lead of the second half by hitting two 3-pointers to put the Cougars ahead 35-34 with 14:18 to play.

The Lady Lancers countered with a 10-0 run over the next four minutes, establishing a comfortable margin that lasted for the remainder of regulation.

Lengel drilled four 3-pointers for her 16 points to go along with three assists and three steals, Danielle Boykin recorded eight points and 11 rebounds, and Kiera Gray added 10 points.

At the conclusion of the game, Lengel was named to the NCCAA All-Tournament Team.

"In our last practice of the year, we had a high amount of energy and excitement and the girls worked hard. It was our best practice of the year which is a credit to their dedication this late in the season," said head coach Scott Blum. "Before the game, we talked about attacking with energy and effort, and I think we did that very well today."

Saturday's game concludes the careers of arguably the finest class in program history. The graduating seniors include three 1,000-point scorers in Kiera Gray, Hayley Cashier and Hannah Lengel. Danielle Boykin racked up 902 points in her three-year career, which ranks No. 14 on Grace's scoring list. 

Gray graduates as the third-leading scorer in program history with 1,371 career points, and Cashier finishes in the top 10 in both scoring (1,150 points, seventh-most) and rebounding (772, second-most). She is only the second player outside of all-time rebounding leader Cheryl Myers to record 1,000 points and 750 rebounds in a career.

With her 16 points on Saturday, Lengel's career points stand at 1,009 which ranks No. 13 all-time. She also dished out 309 career assists (fifth all-time) and is just the second player to tally 1,000 points and 300 assists in a Lady Lancer uniform.

Kate Ball and Abigail Dutcher also closed the books on their athletic careers at Grace on Saturday.

Lady Lancers fall short in NCCAA Semifinals


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Playing in their first NCCAA semifinal game in program history, Grace’s women’s basketball came up short in their pursuit of the championship with a 66-53 loss to Colorado Christian University on Thursday.

The fifth-seeded Lady Lancers (19-15) made a charge at Colorado Christian’s lead midway through the second half, but Christina Whitelaw proved too much to handle as her 27 points propelled the eight-seeded Cougars (17-15) into the NCCAA National Championship Game.

The game started balanced with four ties in the opening 10 minutes of play, but Colorado Christian gradually built their lead up to eight points. At the halfway mark, the Cougars held onto a 27-21 lead.

Colorado Christian led by 12 points early in the second half, but a 14-3 run drew the Lady Lancers to within one at 38-37 with 11 minutes remaining. Kiera Gray and Danielle Boykin tallied three points, and Juaneice Jackson added four in Grace’s spurt.

The Cougars responded, however, by scoring nine of the game’s next 11 points, and Whitelaw did the rest for the Cougars.

After being limited to five points in the first period, Whitelaw took over late for Colorado Christian by either scoring or assisting on 21 of the team’s final 24 points. She scored 17 points and dished out two assists over the final seven minutes of play, almost single-handedly answering Grace’s offense at the other end of the floor.

Jackson was Grace’s most dynamic offensive weapon, scoring 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the bench. Hayley Cashier was the other Lady Lancer in double figures with 15 points and eight rebounds.

Whitelaw led all scorers with 24 points.

Grace shot 33 percent from the floor compared to 43 percent for Colorado Christian. The Cougars also had a 27-11 advantage in free throw attempts and a 37-32 advantage in rebounds.

The Lady Lancers will play in the third-place game of the NCCAA National Championships on Saturday at 10 a.m. against conference foe Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Colorado Christian will play Cedarville University in hopes of earning their first NCCAA title in program history. The championship game tips off at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Lady Lancers set win record in NCCAA Nationals


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's 2011-12 women's basketball team can officially stamp themselves as the best team in program history after earning a program-record 19th win with a 58-49 victory over Emmanuel College (Ga.) in the opening round of the NCCAA National Championships.

The Lady Lancers (19-14) held fourth-seeded Emmanuel to 28 percent shooting for the game to advance to the NCCAA semifinals for the first time in tournament history.

Although their lead was never greater than nine points from start to finish, Grace scored the game's first six points and never trailed.

Krystyn Young tied the game late in the first half for the Lions (21-15) with an old-fashioned 3-point play. But Kiera Gray responded with a 3-pointer at the other end to help the Lady Lancers to a 31-26 advantage at the halfway mark.

The second half was a nailbiter until the final minutes as Emmanuel refused to go down easily. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Kayla Eaton knotted the game at 44-44 with 7:28 to play, but again Gray had the answer with a jumper on Grace's possession. Gray's basket started a crucial 9-1 run for the Lady Lancers that included four points from Danielle Boykin and a desperation 3-point heave from Jayla Starks that skied through the net as the shot clock expired.

Starks found herself with the ball on the right side of the court with the shot clock winding down. With multiple defenders hampering her angle, Starks tossed up a high-arching shot from well beyond the 3-point line that managed to swish through the net to bring the crowd to its feet and, more importantly, give Grace an eight-point lead with 3:22 remaining in the game.

From that point on, Grace's defense took over by holding Emmanuel to zero made field goals over the final three minutes of action.

Gray led all scorers with 13 points on 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Boykin nearly tallied a double-double with 10 points and eight boards before fouling out late in the contest.

Hannah Lengel scored all seven of her points in the opening half, and Hayley Cashier tallied 4 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

Kaylyn Young and Krystyn Young each finished with a team-best 11 points for Emmanuel, and Ashontti Lewis added a game-high nine rebounds.

The Lady Lancers will take on the winner of No. 8 Colorado Christian University in the national semifinals on Thursday at 5:15 p.m.

Late turnovers costly in regional championship


CEDARVILLE, Ohio – Grace’s women’s basketball team gave up a second-half lead to Cedarville University due to timely turnovers and slipped 69-64 in the NCCAA Midwest Regional championship game.

Despite the loss, the Lady Lancers (18-14) will continue their season in the NCCAA National Championships next week as the host school.

Senior forward Hayley Cashier tied a season high with 20 points, including eight points in a momentum-shifting stretch for Grace after halftime.

Cedarville controlled play in the opening period. They led by as many as 11 points and entered the break with a 36-29 lead.

The Yellow Jackets (22-7) shot a sizzling 56 percent in the first half while holding the Lady Lancers to 37 percent.

Grace made its charge out of the gate in the second half, however, as Cashier’s eight points in five minutes helped Grace to a 42-37 advantage.

The Lady Lancers continued their surge over the first seven minutes of the half when an old-fashioned 3-point play from Emily Bidwell capped off an 18-2 run for Grace.

Grace maintained their advantage and held a 13-point lead on Cedarville with under 11 minutes remaining (53-40).

But Cedarville mounted a furious comeback on their home court with a 15-1 run over the next five minutes of play, and a 3-pointer from Cedarville’s Kayla Jenerette eventually put the Yellow Jackets back on top at 55-54.

Grace battled back, however, and tied the score at 60 apiece and at 62-62 before Jenerette hit another dagger from beyond the arc to give the Yellow Jackets a 65-62 advantage with 1:25 to play.

Grace tried to tie the score again, but two attempts from the 3-point line by Kiera Gray and Cashier were off the mark, and Cedarville iced the win at the free throw line while Grace turned the ball over twice in the last minute.

Overall, Grace held a 35-28 advantage on the glass with 14 offensive rebounds to their credit. Cedarville, however, committed five fewer turnovers (20-15) and held the Lady Lancers to just 40 percent shooting for the game.

Cashier’s 20 points came on 7-of-14 shooting with a pair of 3-pointers. She also hauled down a game-high eight rebounds.

Gray tallied 11 points and two assists, and Hannah Lengel added 10 points in the loss.

Grace will await the final bracket announcement for the 2012 NCCAA National Championships, which will be played at the Orthopaedic Capital Center from March 14-17.

Cougars knock out Lady Lancers in MCC Quarterfinals


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Grace’s turnovers haunted them throughout their 72-62 loss to Saint Francis in the first round of the 2012 Mid-Central College Conference Tournament on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers (18-13) gave up 20 turnovers and could not quite finish off their late comeback bid against the Cougars (19-12).

Grace, who entered the MCC Tournament as the No. 5 seed, played well to start the tournament and opened up a 20-14 lead midway through the first half.

But Grace’s turnovers started to pile up soon after. The Lady Lancers committed six turnovers in a three-minute span as the fourth-seeded Cougars scored seven unanswered points.

Saint Francis used that momentum to go on a 19-8 run and entered the break ahead, 33-30.

Grace managed to forge ahead 37-35 to start the second half after a 3-pointer from Kiera Gray, but the Lady Lancers would not taste the lead again.

Saint Francis tied the game on their next possession and retook control of the game. With less than eight minutes left, the Cougars rattled off eight straight points to blow open a 60-49 lead with 4:10 to play.

But the Lady Lancers were not ready to surrender. Over a 90-second stretch, Grace scored nine quick points thanks to a 3-pointer by Hayley Cashier and two free throws resulting from a technical foul called against a Cougar player. When the dust had settled, Grace trailed by three at 62-59 with two minutes remaining.

Unfortunately for Grace, the Lady Lancers could only manage one last 3-pointer from Cashier over the final two minutes of play; meanwhile, the Cougars eased away with 10 free throws during that span for their final margin of victory.

For the game, Grace managed to take seven more field goal attempts and won the rebounding battle by 10 (42-32). Saint Francis had a major advantage in turnovers by only committing 11 turnovers and grabbing 12 steals.

Grace struggled to just 38.7 percent shooting on the night, including a 5-for-20 performance from beyond the arc (25 percent).

The Cougars benefited from the free throw line with 26 attempts compared to 10 for the Lady Lancers.

Cashier paced Grace with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Gray finished with 12 points and three boards, and Juaneice Jackson added 10 points off the bench.

The Lady Lancers will wait to find out about a national tournament appearance in the NCCAA or NAIA tournament in the upcoming weeks.

Boykin named All-Conference, Cashier honorable mention


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After helping lead the Lady Lancers to their first winning season in 20 years, senior Danielle Boykin was honored as First Team All Mid-Central College Conference.

Boykin and fellow senior Hayley Cashier, who appeared as an honorable mention for the conference, are in the midst of Grace's most successful season in program history. The Lady Lancers appeared in the NAIA Division II Top 25 poll for most of the season, which was a first in the team's history.

Boykin averaged 10.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in the post for the Lady Lancers. She shot 45.6 percent from the field and 80.0 percent from the free throw line in the regular season. She was also second on the team with 47 steals.

Cashier produced 8.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game during her senior campaign.

She became the 13th member of Grace's 1,000-point club during the season and currently ranks ninth all-time in scoring. She has also moved up to third place on the all-time rebounding list with 731 career boards.

To view the complete MCC awards list, click here.

Grace enters the 2012 MCC Tournament as the No. 5 seed. They will play at the University of Saint Francis on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Click here to watch the game live.

Lady Lancers lose grip on late lead


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace surrendered a late lead against Taylor University on Saturday, losing 62-58 in their regular season finale.

The Lady Lancers (18-12; 10-8 MCC) wasted a dominant performance on the glass as they outrebounded the Trojans by 13 on the day.

The teams struggled to find separation until Grace made a charge midway through the second half. Grace turned a one-point deficit into a 48-38 lead with 9:47 remaining thanks to five points from Hannah Lengel during a 13-2 run.

But the Lady Lancers went cold offensively down the stretch and managed just four points in an eight minute stretch.

Taylor, on the other hand, scored 19 points in that same period as they took a 59-54 lead with 1:12 to play.

The Trojans (18-12; 8-10 MCC) saw the game slip to a one-possession game in the final seconds, but Grace couldn’t quite save the victory as they could not convert on their potential game-tying possession.

Grace finished in a tie for fourth place in the Mid-Central College Conference but will enter the 2012 MCC Tournament as the No. 5 seed due to tiebreakers. The Lady Lancers will travel to fourth-seeded Saint Francis on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for their first-round matchup.

In the first half, the Lady Lancers missed a number of opportunities in close against Taylor’s 2-3 zone defense, finishing with just 27.8 percent shooting from the floor.

Grace managed to keep pace with Taylor, however, by virtue of their dominance on the glass. The Lady Lancers outrebounded the Trojans by 14 in the first half, including grabbing 14 offensive rebounds.

The Trojans shot 46.2 percent from the field in the opening half and led by as many as six points, but the Lady Lancers used an 8-2 run to cut the margin to 28-27 at the half.

Lengel was instrumental in Grace’s strong start to the second half, scoring eight of her 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the half. But the Lady Lancers saw their double-digit lead evaporate with Taylor’s late charge.

Overall, the game saw 12 lead changes and six ties. The Lady Lancers held the edge in rebounds (45-32) and in turnovers (12-16), but the Trojans were much more accurate from the field at 48.1 percent compared to just 30.1 percent for the Lady Lancers.

Hayley Cashier highlighted Grace’s efforts with 13 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, and Hannah Lengel added 10 points, 5 boards and 4 assists with one turnover.

Danielle Boykin did not see her typical scoring night (three points), but she pulled down nine offensive rebounds and 10 boards overall.

Juaneice Jackson also tallied 10 points and four steals on the night, and Jayla Starks added four points and three blocks.

Grace split during the regular season with Saint Francis with the Lady Lancers winning 57-41 one week ago in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Lengel named CoSIDA Academic All-District


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Senior Hannah Lengel was honored for her success in the classroom and on the court when she was named CoSIDA Academic All-District.

CoSIDA honors student-athletes from the NAIA as well as NCAA Division I, II and III who have earned at least a 3.3 GPA. The members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) then vote through the district and national winners of eligible student-athletes based on their academic and athletic accomplishments.

Lengel, who was a 2011 NAIA Academic All-American, earned her first All-District award from CoSIDA this year. Lengel currently is posting a 3.97 as a business and sport management major at Grace.

The results from the national CoSIDA academic winners will be announced on Feb. 20.

Late push not enough for Grace


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – In a game in which Grace never led, the Lady Lancers nearly pulled off the late comeback against No. 15 Bethel College but fell 73-68 on Tuesday night.

The Lady Lancers (18-10; 10-6 MCC) were pesky defensively throughout the evening, grabbing 20 steals and forcing 27 turnovers overall. But the Lady Pilots’ lead was too much for Grace to topple in the end.

Bethel’s marksmanship from beyond the arc was lethal as they knocked down 12 triples overall. In the first half, the Lady Pilots (19-8; 11-5 MCC) were unconscious by hitting 8-of-9 attempts (88.9 percent) from behind the 3-point line.

Despite Bethel’s 3-point shooting, No. 24 Grace managed to stay close by forcing 17 first-half turnovers as they entered the half behind 33-24.

The Lady Pilots drilled 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions to quickly balloon their lead up to 17 points at 45-28 with 14:55 to play. Bethel made 11 of their first 12 attempts from downtown.

Grace was hard-pressed to make a dent in Bethel’s lead and found themselves behind 60-45 with 4:46 remaining.

But the Lady Lancers used some 3-point shooting of their own and full court pressure to start their comeback. Hayley Cashier and Kiera Gray each nailed a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch to bring Grace close.

On two occasions, Grace managed to cut Bethel’s lead to four points in the final frantic 20 seconds, but Bethel was able to hold on by hitting seven free throws in the final minute of play.

Grace was led in scoring by Gray, who totaled 16 points to go along with six boards and three steals. Cashier finished with 15 points with three 3-pointers, and Danielle Boykin tallied 14 points and four rebounds.

Hannah Lengel recorded five assists and three steals from the point guard position, and Juaneice Jackson scored all seven of her points in the first half. Jackson also nabbed a team-best five steals.

The Lady Lancers were strong in the post and outscored the Pilots 22-8 in the paint. They also held a 32-25 advantage on the boards.

Grace only connected on 39.3 percent of their field goals, however, while Bethel made 46.3 percent of their shots and 66.7 percent (12-of-18) from beyond the arc.

The Lady Lancers stay in third place in the MCC with the loss with one game to play. Grace will host Taylor University on Saturday in their regular-season finale at 1 p.m.

Grace vs. Bethel: The next chapter...


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – One of the best rivalries in the NAIA will write a new chapter on Tuesday night with a doubleheader at the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Both the women's and the men's contests hold great significance in the Mid-Central College Conference standings with only two games remaining in the season.

In the women's game starting at 6 p.m., the Lady Lancers are currently 18-10; 10-6 MCC and are on a four-game winning streak. Grace can tie Bethel for second place in the MCC with a win Tuesday night. The Pilots (19-8; 11-5 MCC) were upset by Grace 67-61 on Jan. 10 and will be looking for revenge.

On the men's side, Bethel will be hoping to play the role of spoiler. The Lancers (21-6; 11-5 MCC) are currently tied atop the MCC standings and need only to win out to secure a share of the conference title. Grace is on a three-game winning streak in the series with the Pilots (15-12; 7-9 MCC), including a 77-69 win on Jan. 10.

Both games can be accessed via Stretch Internet. Follow live stats with the women's game here and the men's game here.

Grace wins fourth straight, tops No. 24 Saint Francis


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Grace continued its late-season push with their fourth-straight victory on Saturday night. Grace found its stride in a 57-41 win over No. 24 Saint Francis.

With the win, the Lady Lancers (18-10; 10-6 MCC) now sit one game out of second place in the conference with two games remaining.

With a win on Tuesday against Bethel, Grace can take over second place in the MCC from Bethel.

The Lady Lancers also tied the program record for wins in a season with their 18th victory. Grace is poised to break the single-season win record of 18-14 set by the 1989-90 squad.

In their game with Saint Francis, the Lady Lancers trailed 14-8 midway through the first half. That proved to be the high point of the game for the Cougars (17-11; 9-7 MCC).

Grace took control of the game by scoring 16 straight points – five apiece from Juaneice Jackson and Danielle Boykin.

All in all, Grace outscored Saint Francis 23-6 over the final 10 minutes of the first half.

The Cougars were forced into 14 turnovers in the first half and 26 turnovers overall.

Grace led 31-20 at the break but did not let up in the second half. The Lady Lancers held the Cougars to 21 second-half points on 19 percent from the field.

The Lady Lancers built their lead up to 25 at their largest margin with five minutes to go in the game.

Hannah Lengel led all scorers with 15 points to go along with 6 boards, 4 steals and 2 assists. Boykin finished with 12 points, a game-high 8 rebounds and 4 steals, and Jackson added 12 points and four steals.

Overall, Grace recorded 18 steals and outrebounded Saint Francis by 11 (42 to 31). The Lady Lancers grabbed 12 offensive rebounds in the win.

Grace’s critical matchup with Bethel is part of a doubleheader with the men’s teams at the Orthopaedic Capital Center on Tuesday. The women’s game starts at 6 p.m., and the men’s game will follow.

Jackson banks game winner in final seconds


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Juaneice Jackson capped off a furious comeback against No. 25 Marian University when her game winner banked in with 4.5 seconds left in Grace’s 63-61 victory on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half and faced a 55-45 deficit with 5:37 to play, but Grace mounted an 18-6 run to finish the game.

With the win, the Lady Lancers (17-10; 9-6 MCC) move into a three-way tie for third place in the Mid-Central College Conference with three games remaining in the season.

“Tonight was the tale of two halves. In the first half, we executed our offense but just missed some good shots,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We played decent defense tonight, but in the second half we finished more of our shots and played hard and as a team.”

Grace struggled in the first half by hitting just 8-of-31 from the floor for 26 percent while Marian made 40 percent of their attempts to take a 32-22 lead at the break.

The Knights (17-7; 9-6 MCC) recorded 12 first-half assists compared to only one for the Lady Lancers.

The second half, however, was much different. Grace forced Marian into 14 turnovers in the second half (18 turnovers overall) while committing just four turnovers themselves.

Grace faced a 10-point deficit with less than six minutes to play, but the team still had a comeback up their sleeves.

The Lady Lancers took their first lead of the half with 1:05 left in the game when Danielle Boykin grabbed an offensive rebound and scored a putback to make the score 59-58.

Marian misfired on two attempts with their possession and was forced to foul Hannah Lengel. Lengel converted both pressure-packed free throws to give Grace a three-point cushion.

The Knights responded with a game-tying 3-pointer in the corner by Natalie Robinson with 13 seconds remaining. But Jackson charged down the court for Grace, slashed down the left side of the lane and banked in a six-foot runner with 4.5 seconds on the clock. Marian’s attempt to tie at the buzzer was unsuccessful, and the Lady Lancers held on for their third straight win.

“This was a great team effort. The girls hung in and persevered tonight,” Blum continued. “Now we just got to look ahead for Saturday and finish out conference season strong.”

Jackson scored 11 of her team-high 13 points in the second half, and Lengel added nine of her 11 points after halftime as well. Lengel also recorded 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Boykin chipped in with nine points and six boards, and Kiera Gray and Jayla Starks finished with eight points apiece.

The Lady Lancers face their final road MCC game of the season on Saturday, when they face Saint Francis at 1 p.m.

Lady Lancers control Goshen in MCC play


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s basketball team won its second straight Mid-Central College Conference game with a dominant 73-54 victory over Goshen College on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (16-10; 8-6 MCC) used a plus-8 advantage on the boards and nabbed 13 steals on the day to sweep the season series with the Maple Leafs (3-23; 0-14 MCC).

Grace took control early by jumping ahead 16-4 in the game’s first five minutes, fueled by a pair of fastbreak layups.

The Lady Lancers held a double-digit lead for most of the half and featured a balanced attack as nine different players scored and 11 players overall saw the court.

Grace was able to get quality shot attempts and scored 20 of their 42 first-half points in the paint. They nailed 51.4 percent of their shot attempts (18-of-35) compared to 42.9 percent for the Maple Leafs.

Goshen caught a break at the conclusion of the half when Kari Heusinkveld swished a halfcourt 3-pointer at the buzzer, but the Lady Lancers went into the locker room up, 42-29.

Kiera Gray propelled the Lady Lancers further ahead to start the second half. She scored 10 points in the first five minutes of the half as Grace went on a 14-2 run out of the locker room.

The Lady Lancers pushed their lead up to 28 at 69-41 before the Maple Leafs brought the margin back down to 73-54 for the final score.

Gray led all scorers with 20 points. She also had a game-high four steals and added two assists.

Hayley Cashier recorded 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, and Juaneice Jackson added 8 points, 3 assists and 3 steals off the bench.

Allison Kauffman finished with five points and seven boards in 13 minutes of action, and Hannah Lengel chipped in with nine points on a 3-of-3 performance from beyond the arc.

Overall, Grace was able to record an assist on 15 of their 30 made field goals, helping them to shoot 46.2 percent from the field. Grace also pulled down 14 offensive rebounds which resulted in 15 second-chance points.

Fourteen players in all played at least five minutes for the Lady Lancers in the victory.

The Lady Lancers continue MCC action when they travel to Marian University on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. tipoff.

Grace's pressure too much for Spring Arbor


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The defensive intensity from Grace’s women’s basketball team gave Spring Arbor fits throughout Wednesday night as the Lady Lancers cruised to a 53-38 victory.

The Lady Lancers (15-10; 7-6 MCC) forced 28 turnovers overall, including 18 in the first half. The Cougars (7-17; 3-10 MCC) struggled with Grace’s fullcourt pressure, yielding 21 steals by the Lady Lancers.

Nine different players scored for Grace on the night, led by a game-high 10 points from Danielle Boykin and Kiera Gray.

Grace’s defense was clicking from the get-go as the home team started the game on a 24-2 run. Spring Arbor’s 18 first-half turnovers plagued them throughout as they went into halftime down, 35-12.

The Cougars were much stronger with the ball in the second half, and their defense slowed down Grace on the offensive end as well.

Over the final 15 minutes of play, Grace could only manage three made field goals and six made free throws. Spring Arbor gradually chipped away at the deficit and cut it to 49-34, but they would get no closer than 15 points the rest of the way.

All in all, Grace allowed Spring Arbor to only record 37 field goal attempts compared to 56 for the Lady Lancers.

Both Juaneice Jackson and freshman Allison Kauffman finished with nine points off the bench, and Kauffman pulled down a game-high seven rebounds in 19 minutes of action.

Grace was able to produce 23 points off turnovers compared to just two for Spring Arbor. Of Grace’s 21 steals, four came from Hannah Lengel and three apiece were credited to Jayla Starks and Jackson.

The Lady Lancers will continue MCC action when they face Goshen College at the Orthopaedic Capital Center on Saturday at 1 p.m. The men’s Grace and Goshen game will follow after the women’s game.

Gray nets 23, Grace falls to Huntington


HUNTINGTON, Ind. – Kiera Gray’s 23 points were not enough as Grace saw its 13-point halftime lead evaporate into a six-point loss to Huntington University on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers seemed well on their way to a second straight win after taking down No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday, but the Foresters (15-7; 7-5 MCC) opened up the second half on a 30-8 run to take a commanding lead and held on to top the Lady Lancers (14-10; 6-6 MCC).

In a game in which Grace outrebounded Huntington by 11, the second half proved to be all the difference. The Lady Lancers struggled to just 7-of-34 shooting after halftime while the Foresters hit at a 60-percent clip, doubling Grace’s point production in the second half.

After Grace’s strong opening half of play, the Lady Lancers poor start out of the locker half enabled Huntington to tie the game at 41 apiece with 11:24 to play. But in less than five minutes of play after that point, the Foresters had opened up a nine-point lead. Grace could not get closer than six points the rest of the way.

Gray’s game-high point total came on 8-of-15 shooting, including four 3-pointers to go along with three steals and two assists.

Danielle Boykin was the other Lady Lancers in double figures with 14 points and four boards in 24 minutes.

The Foresters had a 32-15 advantage from the free throw line, but both teams shot under 60 percent from the charity stripe in the game.

Hayley Cashier finished with a game-best 10 rebounds, and Hannah Lengel chipped in with six points. No other player for Grace scored more than four points.

The Lady Lancers face their next two MCC opponents at the Orthopaedic Capital Center. Grace faces Spring Arbor on Wednesday at 7 p.m. followed by Goshen College on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Grace topples No. 1 IWU


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – In a defensive slugfest, Grace’s women’s basketball team pulled off the major upset of top-ranked Indiana Wesleyan and handed the Wildcats their first conference loss of the season with a 41-39 victory on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers (14-9; 6-5 MCC) could only hit one-quarter of their shot attempts in the game, but they put on a defensive clinic in holding the Wildcats (21-2; 10-1 MCC) to 20 or fewer points in each half.

"Our defensive effort has been very good the past few games, but we just weren't finding our rhythm offensively," said head coach Scott Blum. "We emphasized before the game that we have to keep our defensive intensity. We hit some big clutch shots at the end, but defensively, that was the best effort we've given all year."

Both teams found points hard to come by in the first half as Indiana Wesleyan got on the board first with a bucket three minutes into the game.

Through the first 12 minutes of play, the Lady Lancers were stuck with only four points to their credit. But the Wildcats found things almost as hard to come by on their end of the floor.

The teams entered the half with Indiana Wesleyan ahead 19-11 due in large part to a 10-0 advantage from the free throw line. Indiana Wesleyan was whistled for zero fouls in the opening 20 minutes of play.

Grace’s offense finally began to pick up after halftime. The Lady Lancers hit 3-pointers in crucial junctions in the final period, and Juaneice Jackson drilled back-to-back triples to bring Grace back to within one point with 7:32 to play.

Hayley Cashier gave Grace its first lead of the game with an old-fashioned 3-point play to make the score 31-30 with six minutes remaining.

Another 3-pointer by Hannah Lengel put the Lady Lancers clear by four points, but the Wildcats proved their ranking by converting on two straight offensive possessions to retake the lead 37-36 with 3:49 left.

On the next play, Cashier drew a foul while cutting through the lane and made both ends of the one-and-one free throws to give Grace the lead for good.

Grace held Indiana Wesleyan nearly scoreless over the final three minutes and added three more points from the charity stripe from Lengel and Kiera Gray.

After a few Wildcat misses from beyond the arc, Paige Smith made a layup with 0.3 seconds remaining to cut Grace’s lead to two, but it was too late to stave off the upset.

Lengel led all scorers with 11 points with three 3-point baskets, and Jackson added eight of her 10 points in the second half.

Jayla Starks made several hustle plays and finished with eight rebounds and two blocks.

Overall, Grace outrebounded Indiana Wesleyan by four. The Lady Lancers made only 13-of-52 attempts from the floor but held Indiana Wesleyan to 33-percent shooting as well. The Wildcats also turned the ball over 18 times.

The win snaps a 10-game losing streak to the Wildcats, dating back to the 2005-06 season.

Grace will take on another ranked opponent on Saturday when they travel to No. 22 Huntington University for a 3 p.m. tipoff.

Offense flat in loss to Mount Vernon


MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – Grace’s attack could not seem to get on track in a 56-45 loss to Mount Vernon Nazarene on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (13-9; 5-5 MCC) were held to just 30 percent shooting from the field, including just 9-of-32 in the second half (28.1 percent).

In a low-scoring game, Mount Vernon’s 13-2 run over a five-minute stretch late in the contest put the game effectively out of reach.

In the first half, Hannah Lengel’s bucket with 4:53 remaining gave Grace its largest lead of the game at 20-17. Unfortunately for the Lady Lancers, they would not put another point on the scoreboard the rest of the half.

The lead for the Cougars (11-9; 3-7 MCC) did not rise above nine for most of the second half until Grace’s next dry spell offensively.

Grace seemed to threaten when back-to-back scores from Allison Kauffman and Emily Bidwell cut Mount Vernon’s lead to five points with 7:46 to play.

But the Lady Lancers could only afford one basket by Danielle Boykin over the next five and a half minutes to allow the Cougars to blow open the game 54-36. Mount Vernon held on through the end for their 11-point victory.

Boykin was the lone Lady Lancer in double figures with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Hayley Cashier finished with nine points, and Kiera Gray had seven points on 17 shots.

Grace was outrebounded by 16 in the loss, mostly due to their poor shooting performance. The Lady Lancers managed to make just 17 field goals and were 3-of-20 from beyond the arc.

The Lady Lancers face a stiff task on Wednesday when they welcome NAIA No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan to the Orthopaedic Capital Center at 7 p.m.

Cashier joins Grace's 1,000-point club


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Senior forward Hayley Cashier joined elite company in Grace’s women’s basketball program when she scored her 1,000th career point on Wednesday.

Cashier, a native of Buchanan, Mich., became the 13th member of Grace’s 1,000-point club on a runner in the lane against Marian University.

For her career, she has totaled 1,005 points and 673 rebounds. She is one of only six Lady Lancers to achieve at least 1,000 points and 650 boards.

"Hayley has had a huge impact on our program and our recent success nationally," said head coach Scott Blum. "Her commitment and dedication to God, academics, family and her team at Grace has been a blessing. This accommplishment is well deserved, and it has been an honor to coach her."

Cashier has been instrumental in turning around Grace’s program. As a senior this season, she has helped catapult Grace into the NAIA’s Top 25 Coaches’ Poll for the first time in program history. The Lady Lancers are also on pace to set the record for wins in a season.

As a junior, Cashier was named First Team Mid-Central College Conference and First Team NCCAA All-Region after leading the team in points per game (12.9) and rebounds per game (8.1).

She has also been a part of three straight NCCAA National Tournament appearances for the Lady Lancers.

Lady Lancers' rally falls short; Cashier nets 1,000th


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – A furious late run by Grace’s women’s basketball team was not enough to overcome Marian University on Wednesday as the Lady Lancers fell 55-53.

Grace seemed well on its way to a loss trailing 55-40 with under four minutes to play against Marian, but that’s when the Lady Lancers (13-8; 5-4 MCC) kicked into gear.

The Lady Lancers scored 13 straight points and had the final possession, only to see Hannah Lengel’s potential game-winning 3-pointer come up short.

In a game in which Hayley Cashier notched her 1,000th career point, the Lady Lancers struggled from the field throughout the second half.

Although the Knights (13-5; 5-4 MCC) held a slight edge throughout most of the first half, Grace’s shooting woes after halftime put themselves in a major hole.

The Lady Lancers misfired on their first six shot attempts after halftime, allowing Marian to open up a 10-point lead.

Grace’s shooting turn an even worse turn when they missed 11 straight field goals to fall behind 55-40. Their cold streak lasted from the 13:33 mark until Cashier made a bucket with 3:52 remaining in the game.

Fortunately for the Lady Lancers, Marian did not score a point for the final five minutes of action to set the stage for Grace’s comeback.

Juaneice Jackson banked in a shot from the lane to close the gap to two points with 25 seconds to play, and Grace sent Marian to the free throw line with four seconds on the clock.

After Marian missed the front-end of a free throw attempt, Grace secured the rebound and eventually advanced the ball to midcourt where they set up their final play with a timeout with 1.8 seconds left.

The inbounds pass went to Lengel at the top of the key. Tight defense by the Knights forced Lengel to try a leaning 3-point attempt for the win, but her shot came up short as Marian held on for the upset of the 18th-ranked Lady Lancers.

In the second half, Grace struggled to just 8-of-27 from the field. They started the first 15 minutes of the half shooting just 19 percent by making 4-of-21 until Grace’s late run began.

One of the main highlights of the game came with 14:51 remaining when Cashier’s runner in the lane gave her 1,001 career points. She became the 13th member of Grace’s 1,000-point club and finished the night with six points and three boards.

Danielle Boykin led all players with 13 points and eight rebounds, and Kiera Gray added 10 points.

Lengel finished with 7 points, 5 boards and 3 steals, and Allison Kauffman produced four points and four boards.

The Lady Lancers will return to action on the road against Mount Vernon Nazarene on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Grace ranked No. 18 in latest NAIA poll


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's women's basketball team and head coach Scott Blum received a No. 18 ranking in the latest Top 25 Coaches' Poll from the NAIA.

The Lady Lancers (13-7) have continued their outstanding season by staying in the NAIA's Top 25 all season. Before this year, the Lady Lancers had not earned a ranking in their 35-year history.

Grace, who is currently tied for third in the Mid-Central College Conference with a 5-3 record, will play Marian University at home on Wednesday before travelling to Mount Vernon Nazarene University on Saturday afternoon.

Game of runs goes to Saint Francis


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – In a game that featured three major runs, Saint Francis’ 15-2 run late in the second half proved enough to knock off Grace’s women’s basketball team 62-56 on Saturday.

Kiera Gray’s 21 points were not enough for No. 16 Grace, and senior Hayley Cashier moved to 999 career points in the loss.

The Lady Lancers (13-7; 5-3 MCC) struggled to find their shooting touch after halftime. Grace missed their first seven attempts and only shot 36 percent from the field after halftime.

With the score close at 43-39 in Saint Francis’s favor, the Cougars (13-7; 5-3 MCC) held Grace in check offensively the next six minutes to open up an insurmountable 58-41 lead with 4:26 to play.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Kiera Gray made things interesting at the end as Grace battled back to within seven with 1:17 left, but it was too little, too late for the Lady Lancers.

The first half was also a half of runs. Grace struck first when they opened up a 9-2 lead, but the Lady Lancers would go ice-cold offensively after that.

Grace did not score for the next seven minutes after their initial lead as they watched the Cougars forge ahead 15-9.

Saint Francis experienced their own drought late in the first half, however. The Cougars went scoreless for five minutes, and Grace’s nine straight points allowed the Lady Lancers to take the momentum into halftime leading 26-24. But that's when Grace's offense started to falter.

Overall, Grace turned the ball over 14 times (compared to 13 for Saint Francis), but the biggest statistical advantage was in shooting percentage. Saint Francis for the day shot 42 percent while Grace hit 20-of-54 (37 percent).

Gray’s 21 points came with a trio of 3-pointers and three assists.

Juaneice Jackson notched 11 points and three boards off the bench, and Danielle Boykin added five points and six boards.

Cashier scored 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds. She now needs only one more point to join the 1,000-point club. She will hope to become the 13th Lady Lancer in team history to reach the century mark on Wednesday night when Grace welcomes Marian University to the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Lady Lancers snap 30-game streak, take down No. 8 Bethel


MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Grace’s women’s basketball team broke a 30-game losing streak to Bethel College when they took down the 8th-ranked Pilots on the road 67-61 on Tuesday.

No. 16 Grace had not defeated Bethel in 30 previous attempts, a losing skid dating all the way back to the 1996-97 season.

Jayla Starks posted her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds to highlight the Lady Lancers’ evening, and Hayley Cashier added 12 points.

“Our game plan tonight was to turn up the heat on Bethel and force them into mistakes,” said head coach Scott Blum, who earned his first win over Bethel. “They like to pressure other teams but rarely get pressured themselves, so I thought we did a good job forcing them into mistakes. Our rebounding effort was big as well tonight.”

The Lady Lancers (13-6; 5-2 MCC) led nearly the entire first half against the Pilots (14-4; 6-1 MCC), holding Bethel to 23 first-half points on 29.6 percent shooting from the field.

Grace’s seven-point halftime lead disappeared quickly as Bethel opened up the second half on a 14-6 run to take a 37-36 lead with 13:32 remaining.

But Grace responded with eight straight points to squash Bethel’s momentum, and the Pilots would not take the lead again.

The Lady Lancers built their lead up to 11 points at the end, and the women iced the game at the charity stripe with eight free throws in the final 65 seconds of play.

Overall, Grace held a plus-11 advantage on the boards with 20 offensive rebounds. They nabbed 13 steals from the Pilots while holding them to just 4-of-21 shooting from the 3-point line.

All nine players who appeared for Grace scored at least four points. Danielle Boykin had 8 points, 8 boards and 3 blocks, and Hannah Lengel added 9 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals.

Allison Kauffman and Kiera Gray each scored seven points, and Juaneice Jackson chipped in with six points.

The Lady Lancers, who moved to within a game of second-place Bethel in the conference standings, play the University of Saint Francis on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Grace loses shooting touch in loss to Taylor


UPLAND, Ind. – Grace struggled to find their offensive rhythm in a 76-69 loss to Taylor University on Saturday.

Kiera Gray, who had a game-high 24 points, was one of the lone bright spots offensively for Grace.

Overall, the Lady Lancers (12-6; 4-2 MCC) hit just 21-of-62 from the field, including a 4-of-22 performance from beyond the arc (18 percent).

In each half, Grace managed to counter their poor shooting performance by grabbing 10 offensive rebounds in each period.

The Trojans (13-5; 3-3 MCC) looked to pull away late in the first half when they opened up a 26-18 lead with 3:30 remaining in the half.

But Gray led Grace’s charge back and ended the half by drilling two 3-pointers in the final 39 seconds of the half. The Lady Lancers went into halftime up one, 32-31.

That momentum did not carry over, however, as the Trojans produced an 11-0 run immediately to start the second period. Taylor managed to hold onto their lead through the second half until the final three minutes.

On two occasions in the final minute, Gray again provided the offensive spark with baskets to cut Taylor’s lead to three.

But the Trojans iced the game at the free throw line, sinking nine free throws in the final 78 seconds to hold off the Lady Lancers.

Grace was active on the defensive end, nabbing 15 steals and forcing 22 turnovers in the game. As a result, Grace took 18 more field goal attempts.

Taylor managed to make the most of their shots, however, hitting 48 percent from the field and an incredible 89 percent from the free throw line. The Trojans drilled 32 of their 36 shots from the charity stripe.

Danielle Boykin hit 11-of-12 from the free throw line for 17 points. She also totaled eight boards and five steals.

Juaneice Jackson added eight points and eight boards, and Hannah Lengel chipped in with 10 points.

The Lady Lancers took 18 more field goal attempts and grabbed 20 offensive rebounds in the game.

Grace recorded four assists in the game – one from each of the four players who came off the bench.

Grace will return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Bethel College for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff.

Goshen no match for Lady Lancers


GOSHEN, Ind. – After taking the lead 9-8 early in their game with Goshen College, Grace's women’s basketball team never trailed again on their way to a convincing 67-46 victory over the Maple Leafs.

Eleven players scored for the Lady Lancers (12-5; 4-1 MCC), led by Danielle Boykin’s 13 points and 11 from Kiera Gray.

Grace’s defense was swarming most of the night, causing 24 turnovers by the Maple Leafs (3-14; 0-5 MCC). Overall, Grace was able to score 27 points off turnovers while only committing 10 turnovers themselves all night.

The Lady Lancers managed to build a double-digit lead later in the first half and held on to take a 33-22 advantage into the halfway mark.

Goshen battled back in the initial stages of the first half, using an 8-0 run to cut Grace’s lead to 38-30 with 16:10 to play.

But after a timeout by head coach Scott Blum, the Lady Lancers recovered to rattle off 11 points and put the game out of reach at 49-30. Goshen was unable to make a serious charge after that point.

Defensively, Grace held Goshen to 39 percent shooting from the field and 9 percent from the 3-point line.

The Lady Lancers took 19 more field goal attempts than the Maple Leafs (71 to 52), largely due to the fact that Grace corralled in 12 offensive rebounds.

Boykin did her offensive damage on 6-of-9 shooting. She also grabbed four boards and had two assists in 18 minutes.

Hayley Cashier produced nine points and a team-high seven rebounds, and Juaneice Jackson scored nine to go along with three steals.

Freshman Allison Kauffman came up with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting to go along with four boards, and Emily Bidwell grabbed five boards and scored four points as well.

The Lady Lancers will return to action on Saturday when they travel to Upland, Ind., to take on Taylor University. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.

Lady Lancers pick up MCC win at Spring Arbor


SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – After a first half marked by two momentum-shifting runs, Grace’s women’s basketball team got down to business in the second half and eased away from Spring Arbor for a 53-41 victory.

The No. 16 Lady Lancers (13-2; 3-1 MCC) stormed out of the gate and opened up an 18-2 lead on the Cougars (5-10; 1-3 MCC) after 10 minutes of action.

Spring Arbor countered Grace’s run with a 16-1 spurt of their own over the final half of the period and managed to trail by just one point at the halfway mark, 21-20.

In the second half, back-to-back 3-pointers from Kiera Gray helped the Lady Lancers gain some breathing room at 31-23. And later a 9-0 run midway through the half put the game out of reach.

Juaneice Jackson scored seven of her game-high 15 points during Grace’s 9-0 run, which lasted two and a half minutes.

The Cougars would not come closer than eight points the remainder of the game after Grace’s run.

“Although we didn’t play all that well coming off a break, we held strong and got a win on the road,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We missed a lot of easy opportunities, so we’ll work on those things in practice. We will continue to stick together and keep the ball rolling.”

Gray was the only other player to reach double figures with 12 points. Both Jackson and Gray knocked down a pair of 3-pointers.

Danielle Boykin added eight points and four steals, and Hayley Cashier made all three of her shots to total seven points.

All in all, Grace forced Spring Arbor in 22 turnovers while holding them to just 33 percent shooting from the field.

The Lady Lancers, on the other hand, shot 41 percent for the game and 48 percent in the second half.

The Lady Lancers continue their conference season when they travel to Goshen College on Thursday for a 5:30 p.m. start.

Sluggish first half does in Lady Lancers


SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Coming off a draining last-second overtime win on Monday night, Grace’s women’s basketball team was due for a letdown.

Less than 24 hours after topping Texas A&M International, No. 16 Grace was unable to get off to the start it needed and fell 82-65 to Our Lady of the Lake University.

“My concern tonight was that we would be tired from last night,” said head coach Scott Blum. “This was the better of the two teams we played this week, and they came out and pressured us which led to us missing shots and struggling to get into our offense in the first half.”

The Lady Saints (10-2) used a high-pressure defense in the first half to set the pace early on. Leading by 11-6, Our Lady of the Lake rattled off 12 straight points to open up a 23-6 lead.

Eventually, the lead blossomed to 20 at 39-19 as the host team went into the locker room ahead 44-26.

Grace played much better in the second half, even outscoring their opponents by one overall, but the slow start for the Lady Lancers (10-5) was enough to lose the game.

Trailing 50-28, Grace managed to use a 15-3 run to cut the lead to 10 points, but the Lady Lancers would not come closer than that the rest of the game.

“We started to settle down in the second half and cut the lead down, but overall we just didn’t shoot the ball real well,” Blum continued. “It’s been a great trip still, and I look forward to getting back into conference play.”

Kiera Gray took scoring honors on the night with 18 points, including a trio of 3-pointers. Hayley Cashier had a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards, and Juaneice Jackson added 11 points off the bench.

Overall, Grace outrebounded the Lady Saints by 12 (48 to 36). The Lady Lancers could only hit 33 percent from the field while giving up nearly 46 percent to Our Lady of the Lake.

Grace continues conference play on Jan. 3 when they travel to Spring Arbor University to kick off the new year.

Grace wins overtime thriller on Cashier's buzzer-beating trey


LAREDO, Texas – Grace’s game with Texas A&M International proved to be an instant classic as Hayley Cashier drained a 3-pointer as time expired in the Lady Lancers’ 83-80 overtime win.

The Dustdevils (7-6) had a chance to go ahead at the free throw line with three seconds remaining but misfired on the second free throw. Grace called a timeout on the rebound to set up their final play.

Lindsey Schaefer inbounded the ball at midcourt to Cashier who caught the ball on the wing. With a defender in her face, Cashier took a quick dribble and rose up to nail the winner.

“This was a great team effort overall. This was a great team that gave us everything they had, but we did not give up and hit some big shots,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We played well together and practiced really hard the last few days. When we play like this for 40 minutes, we can beat any team in the nation.”

The 16th-ranked Lady Lancers (10-4) would have lost the shot for their 10th win of the season in regulation except for another set of last-second dramatics—this time by Emily Bidwell.

Grace led 51-41 with 8:28 to play after Allison Kauffman hit a pair of free throws. But Texas A&M International went on a 12-2 run over the next three minutes to tie the score.

The teams battled back and forth down the stretch until a three-point play from Cashier put the Lady Lancers ahead 65-64 with 39 seconds remaining.

The Dustdevils, who are an NCAA Division II member, came back with a bucket and a free throw on back-to-back possessions to lead by two with 00:06 reading on the game clock.

But Cashier delivered a pass from halfcourt to Bidwell, who caught the ball at the free throw line and turned to hit the game-tying basket to send the game to overtime.

Hannah Lengel had a career night leading all scorers with 22 points. She hit 8-of-11 from the field, including 5-of-5 from beyond the arc. She also tallied 12 rebounds and four assists. All in all, Lengel set career-highs in points, 3-pointers made and total rebounds in Grace’s win.

Cashier was the other Lady Lancer in double-digit scoring with 20 points. She hit all seven of her free throw attempts and pulled down eight boards. She also notched three assists and two steals in 37 minutes of action.

Jayla Starks finished with nine points and eight boards, while Juaneice Jackson added eight points and seven rebounds.

The Dustdevils snapped a four-game winning streak with the loss on Monday. They were held to just 35.9 percent (28-of-78) shooting from the field by Grace.

Overall, Grace assisted on 20 of their 27 made field goals. They held a plus-six advantage on the glass and aided their cause greatly by hitting 22-of-28 from the free throw line (78.6 percent).

The Lady Lancers will hope to continue their winning ways in Texas when they play Our Lady of the Lake on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Follow the action with live video (here) and live stats (here).

Turnovers doom No. 17 Grace in upset


CHICAGO, Ill. – Grace’s women’s basketball team struggled to control the ball in a 10-point loss to Roosevelt University on Saturday.

Grace shot at a higher clip than the Lakers and were only outrebounded by one, but they were not able to overcome turning the ball over 29 times in their 71-81 loss.

The Lakers built up a double-digit lead by halftime and managed to hold off the Lady Lancers from any major comeback attempt in the second half to take down Grace.

Grace’s last lead of the game came midway through the first half when a Jayla Starks bucket put the Lady Lancers (9-4) ahead 13-12.

The Lakers (7-5) proceeded to run off 13 of the game’s next 15 points and kept the Lady Lancers at bay essentially the rest of the way.

The Lady Lancers bridged the gap to eight points when Allison Kauffman’s three-point play made the score 47-39 with 11:49 to play. Roosevelt responded, however, with five quick points to end that threat abruptly.

Hannah Lengel produced a season-high 18 points in the loss, hitting 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Juaneice Jackson was the other Lady Lancer in double figures with 13 points, including a perfect 3-of-3 on 3-pointers.

Thanks in large part to the accurate marksmanship from Lengel and Jackson, the Lady Lancers connected on 63.6 percent of their 3-point attempts.

Kiera Gray finished with nine points and four assists, and Jayla Starks chipped in with eight points.

All five starters for Roosevelt scored in double digits, led by 14 points apiece from Casey Davis and Kiara Towles.

The Lady Lancers next take a trip to Texas, where Grace will hope to return to its winning form. Grace will take on Texas A&M International on Dec. 19 before squaring off with Our Lady of the Lake on Dec. 20.

No. 17 Grace slips away 56-55


GARY, Ind. – Despite a dismal shooting performance, a simple free throw from Hayley Cashier was enough to allow No. 17 Grace to beat IU-Northwest 56-55.

In a game in which neither team led by more than eight points, Grace struggled to find their shooting touch at 36.2 percent from the field. The Lady Lancers (9-3) were just over 20 percent from the 3-point line as well, hitting just 4-of-19 from beyond the arc.

Kiera Gray proved to be immune to Grace’s shooting problems, hitting 6 of her 7 attempts from the field, including 2-of-2 from the 3-point line and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe. She finished with a team-best 16 points.

The first half provided little breathing room for either side. Two free throws by Sharon Houston in the half’s final seconds allowed the Redhawks (2-9) to take a 30-28 at the halftime break.

IU-Northwest held onto their lead throughout the second half until two of Juaneice Jackson’s 14 points put Grace ahead45-43 with 6:12 to play.

Jackson again provided a key shot with a 3-pointer with three and a half minutes remaining and allow for Cashier’s free throw attempts one minute later.

Both teams had multiple chances in the final two minutes of play, but IU-Northwest could not connect on two free throws and two field goal attempts to extend the game as the Lady Lancers held on for the victory.

Cashier finished with six points and nine rebounds, and Danielle Boykin chipped in with 7 points, 5 boards and 3 blocks.

Although Grace struggled with their shooting and ended up with 17 turnovers, they helped their cause out by holding a plus-eight advantage on the glass.

The Lady Lancers will hope to continue their winning ways on Saturday when they play at Roosevelt University at 1 p.m.

Grace hands No. 10 Foresters second-straight loss


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Lady Lancers came back to the friendly confines of the Orthopaedic Capital Center for a conference battle with Huntington University on Saturday.

After falling at the hands of top-ranked Indiana Wesleyan earlier in the week, No. 20 Grace (8-3, 2-1 MCC) bounced back and handed the No. 10 Foresters (4-4, 1-2 MCC) their second-straight loss with 58-50 victory.

The Lady Lancers got on the board early and often taking a 13-2 lead in the opening minutes of the game. Huntington, however, didn’t panic. They began to light it up from beyond the arc as Pazia Speed knocked down a trio of threes as the Foresters rattled off 18 straight points to take a seven point lead with 10:16 remaining in the first half.

Grace closed the gap and a 3-pointer from Hayley Cashier knotted the score with five minutes remaining in the half. From that point forward, the game turned into a typical, hard-fought MCC matchup. Neither team could pull away, but Grace was able to cling to a narrow 30-27 at the break.

The second half was more of the same featuring five ties and four lead changes. Just as Huntington was beginning to pull away, Grace picked up the intensity and put itself in a position to make a final surge.

Trailing by six, the Lady Lancers regained the lead on buckets from Rianne Aguilar and Emily Bidwell as well as a 3-pointer from Hannah Lengel. One tie later, Grace would take the lead for good on a basket from Lengel. The ladies pushed the lead to five when Cashier drained her second three of the game, but two free throws from Liesl Davenport closed the gap to three.

With 30 seconds remaining and Huntington picking up the defensive pressure, Lengel stepped back and nailed the dagger trey that would seal the win for Grace.

Danielle Boykin turned in a great all-around performance to lead all contributors with 15 points, 10 boards, and 5 steals. Lengel was right behind her with 14 points and five assists. Not to be outdone, Cashier netted 12 points and seven boards of her own.

Grace will take the floor again of Friday night as they travel to Gary, Ind., to take on IU-Northwest at 6 pm. 

Offense falls flat in road loss for No. 20 Grace


MARION, Ind. – Coming off a win in their conference opener, No. 20 Grace took to the road in hopes of continuing its early-season success.

But Grace’s offense was off the mark throughout the evening in a 78-37 loss to No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan in the Top 20 showdown on Wednesday.

The Wildcats (8-0; 2-0 MCC) jumped out to an early 6-0 lead on a trio of baskets from Krystal Stoneking. Grace battled back to within four at 14-10 with a Danielle Boykin bucket.

Unfortunately, that’s as close as the Lady Lancers (7-3; 1-1 MCC) would get to the top-ranked Wildcats the rest of regulation. Indiana Wesleyan closed out the half on a 20-5 run to lead by 19 at the break.

Grace struggled from the floor, posting a season-low 37 points on 12-of-57 shooting from the field. To compound the shooting woes, the women failed to make a 3-point field goal for the first time all season.

The deficit held steady for a majority of the game, but the Wildcats used a 14-0 run midway through the second half to dash any hopes of a comeback.

The Indiana Wesleyan offense was headlined by Stoneking who recorded a double-double with game-highs in points and rebounds with 27 and 12 respectively.

Indiana Wesleyan held a commanding 45-33 rebounding advantage for the game despite being outrebounded on the offensive glass 11-8.  

For the Lady Lancers, freshman Allison Kauffman turned in a strong all-around performance netting six points and hauling in five boards off the bench. In addition, Hayley Cashier netted a team-high nine points to pace the Lady Lancers.

Grace will be back in the Orthopaedic Capital Center to take on Huntington University on Saturday. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m.

Lady Lancers' first-half run enough to outdo Cougars


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – In their first matchup as conference foes, Grace kept Mount Vernon Nazarene at bay thanks to a late first-half run as Grace won its MCC opener 77-65.

The 24th-ranked Lady Lancers (7-2; 1-0 MCC) held the Lady Cougars (5-1; 0-1 MCC) to 31.3 percent shooting from the field and grabbed 10 more rebounds to deal Mount Vernon its first loss of the season.

“We didn’t play real well in the first half, but we played well enough to be ahead by 14 points. We were a little impatient and missed some passes on offense,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We came out more composed and executed our offense in the second half. I’m pleased with their effort tonight, and this is a good way to start conference play in a tough MCC.”

Neither team was able to grab a significant lead for the majority of the first half until the final five minutes. With Grace leading 19-16, the Lady Lancers nearly doubled their point total in a little over four minutes.

Grace used a 16-4 spurt, sparked by a pair of 3-pointers from Kiera Gray, to go ahead 35-20. The Lady Lancers never looked back.

Despite committing 12 first-half turnovers, the Lady Lancers held Mount Vernon to 28.1 percent shooting from the field to enter the halftime break with a 37-23 advantage.

The second half was a back-and-forth affair with the teams mostly trading baskets. Grace gradually built up its largest lead of the game at 63-43 with 4:20 remaining, but Mount Vernon was able to cut the final margin back down to 12 by the conclusion.

Gray scored all 14 of her points in the first half. Emily Bidwell tied for team honors in scoring with 14 points in 18 minutes off the bench. She also grabbed six rebounds, five of which were offensive.

Hayley Cashier finished with 11 points and six boards, and Hannah Lengel tallied nine points and four assists.

Jayla Starks nabbed five steals and five rebounds, and Danielle Boykin scored eight points in 18 minutes of play.

The Lady Lancers will return to MCC play after the Thanksgiving break with a matchup on the road against Indiana Wesleyan University on Wednesday. The Wildcats are currently No. 3 in the NAIA.

Lady Lancers win by 11 in Top 25 clash


NEW ALBANY, Ind. – No. 24 Grace held a plus-14 advantage in rebounding and shut down No. 19 Indiana University-Southeast defensively in the second half to win, 73-62.

The Lady Lancers (6-2) held the Grenadiers (3-3) to 39.6 percent shooting from the field and forced 16 turnovers by IU-Southeast in the Top 25 battle.

Juaneice Jackson led all scorers with 19 points including 10 in the second half, and Hayley Cashier chipped in with 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

“This was a tough win especially on the road against a good team,” said head coach Scott Blum. “It wasn’t our best effort, but we had a good second half all-around to pull out the victory. Our rebounding effort was what won the game for us.”

The Lady Lancers hit nearly half of their shots in the first half (14 of 29), but turnovers seemed to plague the team (18 turnovers overall). Grace did connect on all four of their 3-point shots in the first half, including a pair from Cashier.

In the second half, the Lady Lancers’ defense was in lockdown mode. The Grenadiers struggled to just 33 percent shooting as IU-Southeast could only net 28 second-half points.

The Grenadiers took 19 shots from the beyond the arc but could only connect on four treys in the game.

Kiera Gray had a well-rounded effort for Grace with 10 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds, and Danielle Boykin added eight points and three steals.

Allison Kauffman impressed off the bench for Grace with six points and five rebounds in 11 minutes of action.

Grace will begin the conference season next week. The Lady Lancers host MCC newcomer Mount Vernon Nazarene on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Grace fades late against IPFW


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s basketball team trailed NCAA Division I IPFW by one bucket with 7:19 remaining in the game, but IPFW finished off the Lady Lancers with a 20-6 run down the stretch to win 71-54 at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center.

Despite struggling to only 34.6 percent shooting from the field, No. 24 Grace was charged by a game-high 18 points from Kiera Gray to stay within striking range.

Unfortunately for the Lady Lancers (5-2), Grace’s 18 turnovers proved to be too much to overcome as the Mastodons (1-3) earned their first victory of the season.

“This was a team effort in which we executed very well with our defensive intensity for 40 minutes,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We needed better discipline on offense down the stretch, but if we play with this type of effort, the ladies can bring an MCC championship to Grace.”

IPFW jumped into the lead from the tip-off with seven of the game’s first nine points, but Grace managed to fight back into the game, cutting the score to 16-15 with 9:36 left in the half.

The Mastodons then increased their defensive pressure, forcing the Lady Lancers into several turnovers late in the half to grab a 34-24 lead at the break.

Both teams traded baskets to start the second half until a barrage of 3-pointers gave Grace life.

Hayley Cashier and Gray teamed up to hit four 3-pointers in the span of three and a half minutes to tie the score at 44-44 with 12:05 to play.

Grace could never take the lead in the game, but they kept the score close and trailed 51-48 with less than eight minutes remaining before IPFW distanced themselves with their 20-6 run to close the game.

Cashier and Danielle Boykin each hit 4 of their 7 field goals and finished with 12 points and 11 points respectively. Boykin also pulled down a game-high seven boards.

Juaneice Jackson sparked Grace off the bench with seven points, and Rianne Aguilar finished with three assists and zero turnovers.

Although Grace only connected on 18 of their 52 shot attempts, they helped their cause with 12 offensive rebounds.

Overall, IPFW controlled the post play with a 40-18 advantage in points in the paint. The Mastadons, who were led by Stephanie Rosado’s 17 points, scored 20 points off of turnovers.

The Lady Lancers will travel to No. 19 IU-Southeast on Saturday for a Top 25 matchup at 2 p.m.

Women's Basketball to face NCAA D-1 IPFW at Gates Sports Center


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's women's basketball team is gearing up for their matchup against NCAA Division I opponent IPFW on Thursday.

The Lady Lancers, who enter the game ranked 24th in the NAIA Top 25 Poll, will face the Mastodons at IPFW's Hilliard Gates Sports Center at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The game can be followed live via a number of avenues. Watch the action live at http://www.gomastodons.com/showcase/. Listen to the gamecast at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/ipfw.portal# or follow along with the stats at http://www.sidearmstats.com/ipfw/wbball/index.htm.

Follow Grace's Sports Information staff over to Fort Wayne as they livetweet throughout the night with onsite updates at http://twitter.com/#!/GCLancers.

Grace drops first of year to No. 8 Concordia


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – In their first game against a ranked opponent, No. 24 Grace struggled to score points late in a 59-67 loss to No. 8 Concordia (Mich.).

The Lady Lancers (5-1) led 48-47 with 9:11 to play, but a long scoreless drought was enough to separate the two teams in their Top-25 showdown.

“This was a tough loss to swallow, but the physical play down in the post defensively took away one of our strengths,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We will bounce back from this and hope to take away some improvements moving forward.”

The first half of play was a back-and-forth affair with six ties. Neither team was able to lead by more than four points.

The Cardinals (5-0) found themselves up 28-24, but a pair of 3-pointers late in the half by Juaneice Jackson and Jayla Starks helped Grace enter halftime with a 32-30 advantage.

The second half started similarly to the first until a Jackson bucket put the Lady Lancers up 48-47.

But the next four minutes for Grace offensively resulted in seven field goal misses, one turnover and a free throw miss as Concordia grabbed the small amount of breathing room they needed to stave off the upset bid.

Overall, both teams shot under 40 percent from the field with Concordia at 36.2 percent and Grace at 33.8. The Lady Lancers managed to connect on five 3-pointers but struggled to hit just over half of their free throw attempts (8 of 14).

Jackson led Grace in scoring with 14 points to go along with five rebounds.

Danielle Boykin finished with 11 points, 6 boards, and 4 steals, and Hayley Cashier chipped in with nine points and six boards.

The Lady Lancers now turn their attention to NCAA Division I foe IPFW. Grace will play the Mastodons at the Gates Sports Center on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.

Late spurt allows Grace to top Racers


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – It appeared the Lady Lancers were headed toward a nailbiter against Northwestern Ohio with the score 53-48 with six minutes remaining.

But the 24th-ranked Lady Lancers ended the game on a 19-1 run, including 14 straight points, to win their fifth straight game to start the season in the 2011 Hoops for Hope KCCCF Tournament.

"This game was a game of spurts tonight," said head coach Scott Blum. "We came out well and started to establish the post early, but to their credit they hung around. Fortunately we were able to get the last spurt and pulled away."

Neither team was able to generate much momentum in the first half due to poor shooting. Grace struggled to 13 of 36 shooting from the field (36.1 percent) but held the Racers in check by forcing them into 10 turnovers and 33.3 percent shooting.

The Lady Lancers (5-0) managed to open up a 10-point lead with a 10-3 spurt midway through the half, but the Racers (0-3) recovered to enter the half down 31-25.

Grace sprinted out of the locker room to score 12 of the game’s next 13 points, half of which came from Danielle Boykin, as the Lady Lancers opened up a 43-26 lead.

Northwestern Ohio made their comeback to close the margin to five points, but that’s when the Lady Lancers decided to blow the game wide open.

The Racers could only score one point the final six and a half minutes of regulation, and the Lady Lancers secured their fifth win of the season – all of which have been by a double-digit margin.

"[UNOH] ouworked us in the first half, so we made it a point to come out in the second half and beat them in rebounds which we did," Blum continued. "We started to be more aggressive in our press breaker which helped push the lead up as well. Now we need to get some rest and bounce back for a tough game tomorrow."

Boykin led all players with 20 points in 24 minutes of action. She hit 8 of 14 shots and also nabbed three steals.

Hannah Lengel directed Grace’s offense most of the night with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and Kiera Gray finished with 15 points and four boards.

Jayla Starks did her part to stuff the stat sheet with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. She hit all seven of her free throw attempts and only turned the ball over twice.

Overall, Grace’s 41.7 percent shooting night was aided greatly by hitting half of their shots (12 of 24) in the second half.

The Lady Lancers held a plus-9 advantage in turnovers and grabbed 16 offensive rebounds on the night.

Grace will face their stiffest test of the season when they take on No. 8 Concordia University (Mich.) on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Listen to the NAIA Top 25 clash live on Stretch Internet.

No. 24 Grace improves to 4-0


PALOS HEIGHTS, Ill. – In a game in which No. 24 Grace never trailed, the Lady Lancers won their fourth straight game to open the season with an 80-51 victory over Trinity Christian College.

Juaneice Jackson led all scorers with 25 points off the bench. She was the ultimate spark by hitting 8 of 10 shots with three 3-pointers to go along with five steals.

The Lady Lancers (4-0) forced the Trolls (1-3) into 29 turnovers and nearly outscored Trinity Christian off their bench alone with 42 points from Grace’s nonstarters.

“Our focus tonight was to get off the bus and get off to a great start. We were able to start well by hitting some shots to get the lead early and then maintained it,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We kept our patience well against the zone late and wore down our opponents. This was a total team effort, and I’m proud of the way all the girls stepped up.”

Trinity Christian managed the tie the score four times early in the first half, but Grace sprinted away with a 25-6 run, including eight points from Jackson and five from Hannah Lengel.

The Trolls shot slightly better in the second half (39.6 percent compared to 33.3 percent in the first half), but they couldn’t keep pace with Grace’s 54.5-percent second half. The Lady Lancers built up a 30-point lead in the second half, and the score hovered around that margin for the remaining 10 minutes of regulation.

Overall, Grace nailed 7 of their 12 attempts from beyond the arc (58.3 percent) and 17 of 21 from the free throw line (81.0 percent). The Lady Lancers have now won all four of their games by at least 16 points.

Danielle Boykin tallied 12 of her 14 points in the first half to go along with a game-high seven rebounds, and Lengel finished with seven points and three assists.

Freshman Allison Kauffman turned in a productive outing with 10 points, 6 boards and 3 steals, and Jayla Starks also had a well-rounded evening with 7 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.

The Lady Lancers welcome stiff competition to the Orthopaedic Capital Center this weekend for the KCCCF Tournament. Grace will play Northwestern Ohio on Friday night at 6 p.m. then square off with No. 8 Concordia (Mich.) on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Both games this weekend can be heard live on Stretch Internet here.

Balanced effort takes down UC-Clermont


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s basketball team put on a show for the homecoming crowd in the Orthopaedic Capital Center with a 89-64 victory over UC-Clermont on Saturday.

Thirteen players scored for the No. 24 Lady Lancers (3-0), who shot 57.6 percent from the floor overall.

Grace set the tone for the game early with 15 straight points to jump out to an 18-2 lead. And once the Lady Lancers grabbed a double-digit lead, they never let it go.

The Lady Lancers went into the half ahead 47-23. They substituted freely in the second half, extending their lead with a 15-2 run to go up 72-32, and the team coasted through the game’s conclusion.

“Today was a focused effort in which we executed our game at both ends of the court,” said head coach Scott Blum. “We took good shots within the offense and valued the basketball. It’s a good start to the year, but we still have improvements to make.”

Grace tallied 22 assists in the game with eight players dishing out two or more.

The Lady Lancers outrebounded the Cougars (1-1) by 10 and forced UC-Clermont into 19 turnovers.

Kiera Gray led all scorers with 15 points to go along with three assists, Danielle Boykin scored 12 points, and Hayley Cashier added 11 points on 5 of 5 shooting.

Jayla Starks tallied 8 points, 3 assists and 3 steals, and Juaneice Jackson chipped in with eight points.

Both freshman forwards contributed in the game. Lindsey Schaefer had six points and five boards, and Allison Kauffman added eight points and four boards.

The Lady Lancers will next play at Trinity Christian on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Grace eases past IU-South Bend


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s women’s basketball team slowly but surely pulled away from Indiana University-South Bend on Saturday, winning 69-53 in their home opener.

Juaneice Jackson scored a game-high 21 points off the bench as the Lady Lancers (2-0) held the Titans (0-1) to 33.3 percent shooting from the field in a solid performance.

“Our girls came out and had a great defensive mindset tonight. We handled their offense very well,” said head coach Scott Blum. “Our team defense got us going, but we had a good balance offensively as well. We showed great patience and hit the shots we needed to today.”

After giving up a layup on IUSB’s first possession, Grace proceeded to score 22 of the game’s next 32 points to open up a 10-point lead with 7:34 remaining in the half. The Titans attempted to chip away at Grace’s lead, but the Lady Lancers went into halftime ahead 35-22.

The Lady Lancers shot out of the locker room with a 12-4 run to go up by 20 points, and the lead stayed in double digits the rest of the game.

While Grace did not shoot particularly well at 37.9 percent, they made up for it by outrebounding IUSB by 16, including grabbing 16 offensive rebounds. Danielle Boykin, who finished with 15 points and 12 boards, grabbed seven offensive rebounds, and Hannah Lengel added five.

Jackson’s 21 points came in 28 minutes of play. She hit a pair of 3-pointers and was 7 of 8 from the charity stripe. She also recorded three steals.

Emily Bidwell came off the bench to tally 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks, and Hayley Cashier added nine boards and three assists.

Grace next prepares for its Homecoming weekend on Saturday when they welcome UC Clermont to the Orthopaedic Capital Center for a 1 p.m. tipoff.

No. 24 Grace wins by 35 in season opener


NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Playing their first game as an NAIA ranked team, the 24th-ranked Grace women’s basketball team flexed their muscle in a 77-42 victory over Holy Cross College in their season opener.

Danielle Boykin poured in a game-high 22 points on 9 of 12 shooting, and the Lady Lancers (1-0) held Holy Cross to 21.1 percent shooting from the field.

“This was a great team effort. We came off the bus focused and played well right away,” said head coach Scott Blum. “Dani [Boykin] was strong down low all night. They gave her opportunities to score, and she took advantage of the matchups.”

After the Saints (0-1) hit two free throws to start the game, Grace rattled off 11 straight points to grab control. Junior Jayla Starks in her first career start scored four of her eight points in that initial run.

The Lady Lancers used that momentum to open up a 23-7 lead and entered the half in full control up by the score of 42-17.

Grace cruised to a 35-25 advantage in the second half. The Lady Lancers made up for their 21 turnovers with a plus-22 advantage in rebounds (58 to 36).

“We still have some things to work on, but that’s why it’s early in the season,” Blum continued. “This was a good opening win for us, and we’ll get onto improving in practice this week.”

Hannah Lengel finished with 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds, and Juaneice Jackson added 10 points.

Rianne Aguilar had a well-rounded night with 5 points, 7 boards, 3 blocks and 2 steals, and Boykin chipped in five rebounds and five blocks outside of her point production.

Grace shot 51.7 percent from the field, including hitting 19 of their 35 field goal attempts in the first half (54.3 percent).

The Lady Lancers next prepare for their home opener on Saturday. Grace welcomes IU-South Bend for a 1 p.m. tipoff at the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Women's basketball set to take off in 2011-12


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Optimism has never been higher for Grace’s women’s basketball team entering the 2011-12 campaign.

The Lady Lancers are coming off their best conference record in school history and their first .500-season since 1992.

Grace, who finished 17-17 and 7-9 in the highly competitive Mid-Central College Conference, finished the season receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll – a first for the program – and advanced to the NCCAA National Tournament (held at Grace College) for the third straight year.

Head coach Scott Blum has slowly but surely built the program, increasing the team’s win totals in nearly each of his previous seven seasons. He enters this year with one of his most experienced teams ever (10 upperclassmen) and hopes the team can reach their goal of finishing in the top three of the MCC – a goal which would most likely result in an appearance in the NAIA National Tournament.

“It’s going to be a fun year. Our team knows our system, and they have the confidence knowing they can do it,” Blum said. “We have most of our pieces back and will have one of the deepest teams in the MCC. The girls have a lot of experience and hungriness coming into the season.”

Senior co-captains Hayley Cashier and Hannah Lengel spearhead Grace’s team and lead a balanced squad. Cashier enjoyed a breakout season a year ago with 12.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while nailing 39.2 percent of her 3-point attempts. The forward was named First Team All-MCC.

Lengel has been a crucial part of Grace’s backcourt since her freshman year. Last season, she averaged 7.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game and shot 38.2 percent from beyond the arc and 82.3 percent from the free throw line.

She will be joined in the guard rotation by senior Kiera Gray and sophomore Juaneice Jackson. Gray is an experienced scorer who enters the season ranked No. 9 on Grace’s all-time scoring list with 1,059 career points.

Jackson was named the MCC’s Freshman of the Year after tallying 7.3 points a game off the bench.

Other guards in the mix include juniors Jayla Starks and Rianne Aguilar. Both players, according to Blum, have worked hard in the offseason to improve their play and have the ability to contribute both offensively and defensively this year.

The post rotation was one of the team’s strengths last year and figures to only improve. Cashier is joined by fellow seniors Danielle Boykin (9.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and Kate Ball (3.4 ppg, 32.4% 3FG) and junior Emily Bidwell (5.6 ppg).

“We’re too good in the post not to score down low, but we also want to run the ball when we get the chance,” Blum continued. “Our strength is probably inside, but you have to have a good inside-outside game to make a run in the national tournament, so that’s how we’ve built our program. If you take away one aspect, we can go with the other.”

Two freshman forwards from Fort Wayne, Ind., also hope to contribute right away in Lindsey Schaefer (Carroll HS) and Allison Kauffman (Blackhawk Christian).

The Lady Lancers will open their season on Oct. 26 on the road against Holy Cross College at 7 p.m. Their home opener is Oct. 29 against Indiana University-South Bend at 1 p.m.

Lady Lancers get first-ever ranking in NAIA preseason poll


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the first time in the history of Grace's women's basketball team, the Lady Lancers have been nationally ranked by the NAIA coming in at No. 24 in the Preseason Top 25 Poll.

Grace finished last season receiving votes in the NAIA poll. The team finished 17-17 overall and 7-9 in the Mid-Central College Conference, making their third straight trip to the NCCAA National Tournament.

In the 2010-11 season under head coach Scott Blum, Grace earned its best conference record in school history and their first .500-season since 1992.

The Lady Lancers are led by senior co-captains Hayley Cashier and Hannah Lengel. Cashier averaged 12.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, and Lengel added 7.0 points and 2.3 assists per game. Both players shot nearly 40 percent on 3-pointers for the year.

The MCC saw three more teams in the top 25 with No. 3 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 7 Saint Francis and No. 13 Huntington. Marian and Taylor made appearances as well in the receiving votes section.

The Lady Lancers will open their season on Wednesday on the road against Holy Cross College at 7 p.m. Their home opener is Saturday against Indiana University-South Bend at 1 p.m.

To see the complete release, click here.