Grace Runs Away from Emmanuel in Second Half


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- In her final game of her career, Demetria Eley was determined to go out on a high note.

Eley tallied 13 points and 10 rebounds, her first double-double of the year, to help the No. 8 seeded Lady Lancers (10-23) earn a 63-41 victory over No. 2 Emmanuel on Saturday. The win gave Grace a seventh-place finish in the NCCAA tournament.

Although she only took one shot in the second half, Eley gave Grace a lift in the first period and scored 10 of Grace's first 16 points. The Lady Lancers made a late 7-0 run at the end of the first half and held a 26-20 advantage over Emmanuel at the break. Eley and Hannah Lengel tallied 17 of Grace's 26 first-half points.

The turning point of the game, however, came at the start of the second half. Grace held the Lady Lions (18-15) scoreless for the first four minutes and mounted a 19-2 charge to blow the game open. Hayley Cashier scored six points in a one-minute span to expand Grace's lead to 17 and force Emmanuel to call a timeout.

Grace comfortably led by 20 points midway through the second half before Emmanuel forced five consecutive Lady Lancer turnovers and tried to make a charge. Grace didn't score for over five minutes, and Emmanuel cut Grace's lead to 13 with just under six minutes remaining in the game. But the Lady Lancers hit eight free throws down the stretch and built their lead back to 20 points and earned the victory.

Cashier led the Lady Lancers with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, Lengel added 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting, Autumn Heflin tallied nine points and Morgan DiAntonio had eight points to go along with five assists. Grace only had 16 turnovers compared to their 28 in the first game of the tournament and 26 in the second game.

Birttany Bruno led Emmanuel with 11 points, and Ashley Jackson had a double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds).

Emmanuel struggled to hang with Grace due to poor shooting. They shot 29 percent from the floor compared to Grace's 45 percent, and the Lady Lions shot 10 percent from the 3-point line, including 0-for-11 in the second half. They took 24 more shots than Grace.

King College Wins Overtime Thriller


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- After losing yesterday's games, both King College and Grace College didn't have a chance at winning the NCCAA tournament. But that didn't stop them from playing for something on Friday.

In a classic national tournament contest, King's Brooke Johnson hit a double-clutch floater on the baseline in the final seconds of overtime to give the Lady Royals (18-12) a 69-68 victory over Grace on Friday.

In a level contest, the difference of the game was at the free throw line. King was a stellar 17-of-20 on the day while Grace made 12-of-21, which included four straight missed free throws in the final 2:05 of overtime.

King's Derika Mooney led the game in all three categories with 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Beth Raby had 14 points, Jessica Tharpe had 12, Ashley Deans added 11 and Brooke Johnson contributed 10.

The beginning of the game belonged to King. They Lady Royals jumped to a 7-0 start and extended their lead to double-figures soon after. They made eight of their first 11 shots and capitalized off of eight Lady Lancer turnovers. The Lady Royals held a comfortable 22-11 advantage with ten minutes remaining in the half, and it looked as if they may blow out the Lady Lancers (9-23).

But Grace's Danielle Boykins gave the Lady Lancers a boost and made two strong moves in the post to get Grace within four points (22-18). Grace's Hayley Cashier also stepped up in the final minutes of the half, and drained two free throws to give Grace a 30-28 lead, their first of the game.

The next possession, Cashier hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to give Grace a five-point lead. Demetria Eley scored in the post at the end of the half to complete Grace's 24-6 run and give them a 35-28 lead at half.

With the momentum on Grace's side, King managed to hang with the Lady Lancers in the second half and only trailed by single-digits the majority of the period.

Late in the second half, however, King's Tharpe took over. She scored 10 points in a row and made a 3-pointer to give King its first lead of the half at 53-52 with seven minutes remaining. Two possessions later, she drained another three to give King a 58-54 advantage.

But Grace continued to pound the ball into the post. Eley scored six points in a row to tie the game at 60, and Emily Bidwell hit two free throws to tie the game again at 62 with 2:36 remaining in the game.

The game stayed tied at 62 until the final seconds of the contest.

King's Mooney hit two free throws with six seconds left to give them a 64-62 lead, and Grace's Autumn Heflin drew a foul in the backcourt that led to two clutch free throws to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Eley led Grace with 14 points, Heflin added 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, and Cashier had 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting. Grace outscored King 36-18 in the paint.

King will play Bluefield for fifth place tomorrow at 1 p.m. Grace will play in the seventh-place game against Emmanuel at 11 a.m.

Grace Falls to Top Seed for Second Straight Year


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- For the second straight year, Grace barely fell short against the No. 1 seed in the NCCAA tournament.

After leading late in the game, the No. 8 seed Lady Lancers (9-22) lost to the defending champions Mount Vernon Nazarene University in the first round 59-52.

"The same thing that happened last year basically happened again this year," said head coach Scott Blum. "It was hard again going into the locker room tonight. Our girls put up such a great effort. I am more than pleased and thankful for the ladies and what they did tonight."

With 8:26 left in the second half, Grace took a 46-44 lead, their first since their 4-2 advantage in the opening minutes of the game. But the Lady Cougars (20-9) proved why they are the tournament's No. 1 seed and went on a 12-0 spurt to run away with the victory. During the stretch, Grace missed six straight shots, turned the ball over four times and missed the front side of a bonus free throw.

"After we took the lead, we wanted to take care of the basketball and get to the free throw line," Blum said. "We took the lead and didn't take advantage of it. But Mount Vernon is a great team, and they responded well. They didn't panic and came out and executed their offense."

Although Grace trailed the majority of the game, they hung with Mount Vernon throughout the entire contest. Up until the Lady Cougars' momentous charge late in the game, their largest lead was merely seven points.

Defensively, the Lady Lancers also put forth a solid performance. Grace held Mount Vernon, who averages 75 points per game, to only 59 points. They also held the Lady Cougars' Amanda Himes (19.6 ppg) and Sierra Fletcher (16.8 ppg) to 13 points apiece on a combined 7-of-21 shooting.

"That was our game plan -- to not let Fletcher get the basketball," Blum continued. "Our girls executed what we wanted to do defensively, and that may be one of our best defensive efforts of the whole season. But we allowed two other girls to get double-figures, and that's why we lost the game."

The Lady Lancers turned the ball over 28 times, and Mount Vernon torched Grace at the free throw line, draining 18-of-25 from the charity stripe to Grace's 4-of-11.

Grace outscored Mount Vernon 26-6 off the bench and outshot the Lady Cougars 44 percent to 33 percent.

Danielle Boykin led Grace with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, and Demetria Eley added 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Hayley Cashier also grabbed nine boards.

With the loss, the best Grace can finish is fifth place. They will face King College on Friday at 3 p.m.

First Half Dooms Grace in MCC Tourney


FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Grace's first half effort against No. 12 Saint Francis on Tuesday was practically déjà vu.

The Lady Lancers (9-20) dug themselves into a 27-47 halftime deficit and consequently fell to the Lady Cougars (21-10) 91-73 in the first round of the MCC tournament. Grace made the same mistake on Jan. 13 against Saint Francis when they trailed 20-40 at halftime and lost by four points.

"Unfortunately, our first half was the same as the first time we played them during the regular season," said head coach Scott Blum. "After a solid start in the opening minutes, we tanked. We threw the ball away, and it was ugly. We just survived to get out of the half."

Turnovers were the death of Grace in the first half. The Lady Lancers racked up 19 turnovers in the first period alone and 29 overall.

"We had a number of turnovers from our guards," Blum continued. "That isn't going to get the job done. They can dribble fine, but most of the turnovers were just situational. We don't have a good understanding right now."

Grace had an early 11-10 lead in the first five minutes of the game before the Lady Cougars mounted a massive 32-4 run and never looked back. Down by 28 points, Grace closed the half on a 10-2 spurt.

The second half, like their last trip to Saint Francis, was a different story. Grace battled with the Lady Cougars and were only outscored by two points, 46-44. Grace, however, was unable to cut into Saint Francis's lead.

"We played a great team," Blum said. "They are probably the team to beat right now, and they will win some games out at the national tournament. But I don't think we are 20 points worse than them."

The Lady Lancers outrebounded Saint Francis 53-36 evening and tallied 26 offensive rebounds.

On a rare occasion, Grace's bench was outscored 42-40.

Demetria Eley led Grace with 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting while Emily Bidwell and Danielle Boykin tallied 10 points off the bench.

Grace held Saint Francis's Bessie Jenkins, who was just named the NAIA Div. II Player of the Week, to only 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

The Lady Lancers' focus now transfers to the 2010 NCCAA National Tournament, where they will receive an automatic bid as the host school.

"We will bounce back from this one," Blum said. "Our regular season is done, our conference season is done, and now the third part of the season begins. Our goal is to win the national tournament. If we are in it, we are going to win it."

Grace will tip it off at 7:30 p.m. on March 11. The tournament features eight teams from around the nation, four games a day and lasts from March 11-13.

Lady Lancers Fall To No. 8 Indiana Wesleyan


MARION, Ind. -- The Lady Lancers closed out the regular season with a 45-65 loss to No. 8 Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday evening.

The Lady Lancers (9-20; 5-11 MCC) hung with the Wildcats (24-5; 13-2 MCC) for the majority of the first half, but a 17-8 run to end the half gave Indiana Wesleyan a 30-21 advantage. That proved to be all that IWU would need as Grace never got closer than 10 points the rest of the game.

"We played up and down the first half, so in the second half, we wanted to come out and go to the free throw line more," said head coach Scott Blum. "But they came out more aggressive and more confident down the stretch."

In the last matchup between the two teams, the Wildcats went 3-of-19 from long-range, but this time the three-point shooting took its toll as the Wildcats shot 42 percent from beyond the arc on 8-of-19 shooting.

The stout Wildcat defense forced the Lady Lancers into 17 turnovers on the night. The Wildcats took advantage of those turnovers by scoring 20 points. Indiana Wesleyan, led by 20 points from Elaine Hessel, placed three players in double figures compared to zero for Grace.

The Lady Lancers continued to outscore the opposing team's bench as they have all season, edging the Wildcats 20-17. Indiana Wesleyan did, however, outrebound Grace 36 to 28.

Hannah Lengel and Emily Bidwell paced the Lady Lancers with eight points apiece, and Demetria Eley followed with seven. Autumn Helfin added six points on 2-of-2 shooting from 3-point range. Emily Bidwell pulled down eight boards, and Morgan DiAntonio added six of her own.

"(Indiana Wesleyan) got the big lead and maintained that to the end," Blum continued. "We will learn from here and be more aggressive looking on to the postseason tournaments."

Grace will play in the MCC tournament this coming week. The date and time has yet to be determined.

Eley Plays Strong on Senior Day


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- The Lady Lancers' were plagued by turnovers against the Lady Cougars in an 81-67 loss to the University of Saint Francis on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (9-19; 5-10 MCC) committed 21 turnovers in the game, including nine in the first half, as Saint Francis took a 39-28 lead at halftime. On her Senior Day, forward Demetria Eley led Grace at the half with 10 points. The Lady Cougars' (17-10; 11-3 MCC) bench outscored the typically strong Lady Lancers' bench 16-6 in the first half to help give Saint Francis an 11-point lead at the half.

Grace shot 48 percent from the field in the second half but could not overcome their 12 second half turnovers. Saint Francis shot 52 percent from the field and 46 percent from behind the arc in the second half to shut the door on the Lady Lancers. Grace shot 70 percent from the line in the game going 14-20 including 8-of-8 in the second half.

Saint Francis outrebounded Grace by nine in the game including 13 offensive boards compared to only seven by Lady Lancers. This led to 14 second chance points for the Lady Cougars.

Eley led the Lady Lancers with 16 points in the game. Hannah Lengel also added 13 points, while leading the team with four assists and five steals in the contest. Danielle Boykin and Kayla Skaggs both chipped in with eight points coming off the bench.

Grace will travel to Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday to finish out the regular season. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m.

Grace Grabs Second Straight Win


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace's women's basketball team held onto the lead for most of the game on Wednesday and made a run in the final minutes to clinch a 66-52 victory over Spring Arbor University. The Lady Lancers held the Lady Cougars to 30.5 percent shooting for the game.

"It's great to have a win, even if it's winning ugly," said head coach Scott Blum. "We didn't come mentally focused at the start of the game, but we made some adjustments at the half, and we started to spark."

The Lady Lancers (9-18; 5-9 MCC) used a 10-0 run in the first half to turn a 8-13 deficit into a 18-13 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the half. Grace gave up a buzzer-beater layup to end the half, but they still went into halftime holding a slim 32-31 advantage.

In the second half, Hayley Cashier gave Grace a 12-point lead on a bucket with 13:36 remaining in the game. Spring Arbor slowly rallied during the next seven minutes to bring the Lady Cougars (4-21; 2-12 MCC) to within five at 49-44. But Grace finished the game strong with a 13-3 run to run away with their second win in a row.

"This was a good team win. They all made adjustments in the victory," Blum continued. "We are a very balanced team. We have to continue to use our team play like we've been doing, and we'll continue to have success. We gotta keep the momentum going. Anything can happen in the MCC tournament."

Demetria Eley scored a team-high 14 points off the bench on 6-of-9 shooting, and Kayla Skaggs added another spark off the bench in the second half with nine points and 10 rebounds.

Hannah Lengel hit 5-of-7 from the field to total 13 points, and Autumn Heflin chipped in 10 points and five assists.

The Lady Lancers return to action Saturday at the Orthopaedic Capital Center for a matchup with Saint Francis. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. Saturday is also Senior Night for Grace's only senior Demetria Eley.

Back on Winning Track with Victory over Taylor


UPLAND, Ind. -- Grace’s women’s basketball team forced Taylor into 6-of-22 shooting in the first half and held onto a 72-68 victory over the Lady Trojans on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (8-18; 4-9 MCC) swept the season series with the Lady Trojans (15-9; 7-6 MCC) after taking the first matchup 71-66 at the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

"Overall in the first half, it was more of a team defensive effort," said head coach Scott Blum. "We kept them from going where they wanted to go and did exactly what we wanted to according to our game plan. We matched their level of intensity."

A three-pointer by Hannah Lengel capped off a 9-0 run by the Lady Lancers to jump out to a 16-6 lead midway through the first half.

The Lady Lancers opened up the second half with a 9-4 run to make the score 43-30 with 16:50 remaining in the game. The Lady Trojans slowly chipped away at the lead in the second half, however, and tied the score at 56 apiece with 4:06 left to play.

Sophomore forward Kayla Skaggs broke the tie with two free throws on the other end to give Grace a two-point lead. Taylor responded with two free throws to knot the game at 58, but Skaggs once again broke the tie with a 3-pointer off an assist by Lengel to give Grace the lead for good.

"Taylor came out and threw some pressure at us with 10 minutes left in the game, and we started to go back into our old ways," Blum continued. "But the girls maintained composure. Taylor never got the lead, which was really helped us keep our heads until the end."

The Lady Lancers gave the ball up 10 more times than the Lady Trojans (24 to 14), but they outrebounded Taylor 43-30 and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds.

The scoring was spread out for the Lady Lancers with no player topping double figures. Eleven different players for Grace scored, led by Lengel, Emily Bidwell and Demetria Eley with nine points each. Lengel also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 4 assists.

Grace's bench once again flexed its muscles with 28 points, their fifth game in a row with at least 25 points off the bench.

"We are a strong team. Anybody can score for us at any given moment," Blum said. "They've bought into that whole team philosophy. We just have to keep believing in that, and we'll keep building."

Grace returns to action Wednesday as they welcome the Lady Cougars of Spring Arbor to the Orthopaedic Capital Center for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Lady Lancers Slip to Maple Leafs


GOSHEN, Ind. -- Grace's women's basketball team racked up 27 turnovers and missed 13 free throws in their 69-80 loss to Goshen on Wednesday, the Maple Leafs' (9-16; 1-10 MCC) first conference win of the season.

"They aren't necessarily a pressuring team, but we still managed to turn the ball over," said head coach Scott Blum. "We played brain dead in the second half and threw the ball around."

The Lady Lancers (7-18; 3-8 MCC) took a commanding 23-11 lead in the first ten minutes of the game, but Goshen responded with a 10-0 run of their own to get back into the contest. The Maple Leafs took a 33-32 lead with 4:25 left in the first period and never looked back.

"We have to come ready to play," Blum said. "That's the thing we've battled with all year. We have a lot of work to do."

After leading 40-36 at halftime, Goshen sparked a 13-2 run at the start of the second half and led my double figures the majority of the period. The Maple Leafs led by as many as 16 and Grace never got within eight points.

Demetria Eley led Grace in points for the third game in a row, totaling 14 on the evening on 5-of-7 shooting. She also grabbed seven rebounds. Kayla Skaggs added nine points while Hannah Lengel, Rianne Aguilar and Morgon DiAntonio each had eight points.

Goshen's victory snapped their eight-game losing streak dating back to Dec. 19. It was Grace's sixth straight loss.

Grace is back in action at Taylor University on Saturday for a 1 p.m. start.

Lady Lancers Can't Overcome Cold Start


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Two minutes into the women's basketball game between Grace College and Huntington University, Hayley Cashier's bucket put Grace up by one point, 4-3.

Eight minutes and ten seconds later, Grace was down by 16, courtesy of eight turnovers in 15 possessions.

Although the Lady Lancers (7-17; 3-8 MCC) played even with Huntington the rest of the game, Grace fell to the Lady Foresters (16-6; 7-3 MCC) on Saturday for their fifth straight conference loss.

"It's the same story--we just didn't come ready to play the first half," said head coach Scott Blum. "I keep telling the girls that it's a 40-minute game, not a 20-minute one."

Grace won the second half by three points (34-31), but the women couldn't overcome the 47-30 halftime deficit.

The Lady Lancers won the rebounding battle by 14, with 18 of those coming on the offensive glass. Grace also forced Huntington into 20 turnovers in the game but committed 25 themselves, including 15 in the first half.

"Somehow, we have to get ourselves focused for the first 20 minutes," Blum continued. "Right now, we're not matching their energy and physicalness like we are after the half."

Kayla Skaggs led Grace with 11 points. Danielle Boykin added seven points and eight rebounds, and Hannah Lengel chipped in nine points and five assists.

The Lady Lancers return to action Wednesday when Grace travels to Goshen to take on the Lady Maple Leafs. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Grace Can't Keep Up With No. 24 Marian


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Normally a strong rebounding team, Grace's women's basketball team struggled on the boards against No. 24 Marian on Wednesday night, losing their fourth straight game, 71-46.

The Lady Lancers (7-16; 3-7 MCC) were outrebounded by 17 on the night and gave up 11 offensive boards to one of the best rebounding teams in the nation. The Lady Knights (15-8; 7-3 MCC) rank seventh in the nation in rebounding margin, averaging over nine more rebounds per game than their opponents.

"I was disappointed with our rebounding performance," said head coach Scott Blum. "Rebounding is typically one of our strengths, but we had a low tonight."

Grace opened the game with turnovers on three of its first five possessions, allowing Marian to jump out to an early lead. But the Lady Lancers continued to fight as a bucket by senior Demetria Eley brought the score to 20-18.

However, turnovers continued to plague the Lady Lancers as they turned the ball over 14 times before halftime. Marian started rolling as a result and went on an 11-1 run to make the score 31-19 with 3:49 left in the first half.

The Lady Knights used that momentum to score the first nine points in the opening minutes of the second half to open up a 22-point lead. Grace never got closer than 17 points the rest of the way.

"The number one thing we had to do was bring energy," said head coach Scott Blum. "Marian had a lot to play for being in the top 25 poll. We just didn't come with the same energy that they had tonight."

Marian's ball movement proved too much for Grace. The Lady Knights assisted on 20 of their 29 made field goals. Conversely, Grace recorded only four assists -- two apiece from Hayley Cashier and Samantha Fields.

Eley had her second consecutive game in double-figures. She tallied a game-high 16 points on 5-of-10 from the floor. Hannah Lengel added eight points and five rebounds.

For the game, the Lady Lancers shot 28.3 percent (13-of-46) compared to 51.8 percent (29-of-56) for Marian.

The Lady Lancers return to action this Saturday in the Coaches vs. Cancer, Suits & Sneakers weekend. Blum will work the sidelines against Huntington in sneakers to increase awareness for cancer. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

No. 15 Bethel Gives Grace Third Straight Loss


MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- The Lady Lancers’ 12-year drought against No. 15 Bethel continued as Grace fell 82-74 on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (7-15; 3-6 MCC) took a 36-33 lead into halftime. The Lady Pilots (16-7; 5-4 MCC) then turned up the pressure in the second half to outscore Grace 49-38. Bethel forced Grace into 25 turnovers while only committing 15.

The Lady Pilots took the lead with 17:34 left in the second half and never looked back. Bethel controlled the ball and hit their free throws down the stretch going 21-of-29 in the second half to seal the game.

“Our defensive intelligence was lacking in the second half,” Blum said. “Consistent breakdowns on the defensive end led to easy buckets and free throws, which really hurt us.”

Grace’s bench continued to perform well, outscoring the Bethel bench 43-4 in the game. The bench scoring was highlighted by Demetria Eley and Kate Ball, who led the Lady Lancers in points with 18 and 15 respectively.

Grace also out-rebounded Bethel 39-27 in the game. Grace was led by Eley with seven rebounds in just under 20 minutes of playing time. Autumn Heflin also added six rebounds.

Danielle Boykin scored 14 points and five rebounds for the Lady Lancers. Hayley Cashier chipped in with 10 points. Kayla Skaggs also added 6 points for Grace.

"We are disappointed in the loss, but we are pushing forward and are ready to bounce back on Wednesday,” Blum continued.

The Lady Lancers are back in action on Wednesday at the Orthopaedic Capital Center against Marian University at 7 p.m.

Indiana Wesleyan Shuts Down Grace


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- It's not typical for Grace's women's basketball team to put up 40 points in a single game.

But stifling defense from No. 6 Indiana Wesleyan shut down the Lady Lancers (7-14; 3-5 MCC) in a 57-40 victory, their seventh in a row.

Grace, a team that ranks 12th in NAIA Div. II in total scoring averaging 66 points per game, shot 29 percent from the floor on 14-of-48 shooting and tallied 26 points less than their season norm. The Lady Wildcats (18-3; 7-0 MCC) shot 45 percent from the floor and outrebounded Grace by 11.

The Lady Lancers' zone defense kept the game close in the first half, forcing Indiana Wesleyan to take several 3-point shots. The Lady Wildcats finished 3-of-19 from beyond the arc for the game and 3-of-12 in the first period. Still, Indiana Wesleyan held a seven-point lead at the half, 24-17, after closing with a 6-0 run.

Indiana Wesleyan started the second half off strong and ran away with the game. The Lady Wildcats held Grace to a mere five points in the first 10 minutes of play and mounted a 13-5 run to distance themselves from Grace. IWU's largest lead in the second half was a 19-point advantage.

Grace had no players in double-figures on the afternoon. Danielle Boykin, Kayla Skaggs and Emily Bidwell all finished with eight points. Skaggs was 4-of-6 from the field and had all of her points in the second half. Hannah Lengel finished with seven points.

"We played well most of the first half. The second half, we had to play from behind and force some shots," said head coach Scott Blum. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to sustain our first-half effort the entire game."

The Lady Lancers will try to snap their two-game losing streak at conference rival Bethel College next Saturday.

Lady Cougars Hold On Despite Grace Comeback


FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Grace’s women’s basketball team didn’t go down easily on Wednesday.

After Saint Francis doubled their score at halftime 40-20, the Lady Lancers (7-13; 3-4 MCC) mounted a massive comeback in the second half to give No. 30 Saint Francis a scare. But in the end, the Lady Cougars (10-9; 4-2 MCC) held on for the 82-78 victory despite Grace’s season-high, 58-point second half charge.

"The scary thing is that they believed they could do it," said head coach Scott Blum. "They knew that we couldn't do it all at once, and we had to be patient. They just believed in it."

Saint Francis jumped to a 15-2 advantage in the first seven minutes of the game and built their lead up to as much as 22 points in the first half. Grace committed 13 turnovers in the first period and shot 31 percent from the floor.

"We did not get off the bus in the first half," Blum continued. "We were just throwing up jump shots and not attacking the basket. We weren't playing defense on the other end, and it just snowballed to a 20-point deficit at halftime. Rough starts have been a problem for us all year."

Grace continued to trail by around 20 points for the majority of the second half. With six minutes remaining in the game, the Lady Lancers found themselves down 51-71. That's when Grace went on a 27-11 run to get themselves within four points at the end of regulation, the closest they had been since trailing 2-6 in the opening minutes.

Lengel led the Lady Lancers with a game-high 15 points, six assists and three steals. Demetria Eley tallied 13 points, and Grace had five additional players all finish with more than seven points.

The loss snapped Grace's three-game conference winning streak, their first since the 1991-92 season.

Grace continues MCC play against Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday for a 1 p.m. tip-off.

Grace Wins Third Straight in MCC



SPRING ARBOR, Mich. -- Grace's women's basketball team earned it's third conference victory in a row on Saturday, the first time the program has accomplished such a feat since the 1991-92 season.

The Lady Lancers (7-12; 3-3 MCC) shot 71 percent in the second half and defeated Spring Arbor 66-52 to maintain sixth place in the conference.

"All these years I've been here, it's been good to simply get one or two wins in the conference season," said head coach Scott Blum. "They are starting to realize that they are good enough to be in the top three or four."

Grace had a 27-22 lead at halftime but distanced themselves from Spring Arbor in the second half due to stellar shooting. The women also drained 7-of-12 from beyond the arc, a season high for 3-pointers made. Their overall shooting performance was the first time Grace has shot over 50 percent from the field all season.

Autumn Heflin led the Lady Lancers with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the 3-point line and grabbed five rebounds and had five steals. Hayley Cashier was the only other Grace player in double figures. She tallied 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in her second start of the year.

Jayla Starks added nine points off the bench on 2-of-3 shooting from the 3-point line and Demetria Eley had eight points on 4-of-5 shooting.

"In the past, we have played not to lose," Blum continued. "Now, we have started coming to play to win. When we believe that, we can accomplish a lot. A lot of teams in the past know they have beat us before. We have to change that mentality in them. We have to make them fear us."

Grace will go for their fourth conference win in a row at Saint Francis on Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Lady Lancers Knock Off No. 10 Taylor


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- The last time Grace’s women’s basketball team beat Taylor University, head coach Scott Blum was leading Grace’s men’s basketball team to an NAIA National Championship as a player during the 1991-92 season.

On Thursday, the Lady Lancers snapped a 17-season, 38-game losing streak to the Lady Trojans in a 71-66 victory over No. 10 Taylor.

“Any conference win is big for us,” Blum said. “Especially with the amount of close games we have had this year—losing seven games within four points or less—winning this game was a huge victory for our program.”

The Lady Trojans (11-2; 3-2 MCC) took a one-point advantage with 1:16 remaining in the game, their first lead since the 11:23 mark in the first half. Once again, it looked as if the Lady Lancers (6-12; 2-3 MCC) would lose a nail-biter down the stretch to a top team in the nation.

After two consecutive Lady Lancer turnovers, Blum called a timeout.

“I had to get my composure before we went in the huddle,” Blum said. “I walked away, got my composure, and I told them that we needed a good stop here. I told them that if we were going to win the game, we had to be the aggressors.”

Something worked.

Autumn Heflin stole the ball from Taylor’s Hillary Guion, and Hayley Cashier made two clutch free throws on the other end to give Grace a 67-66 lead. In the final 25 seconds of play, Grace forced two more Taylor turnovers and made four free throws to clinch the upset.

“As a coach at Grace, this game honestly ranks nowhere for me. I want to win every game,” Blum continued. “I’m going to enjoy it until 10 o’clock in the morning tomorrow. Then we have to plan for Spring Arbor and win our third in a row.”

Grace had a 35-30 lead at halftime and led by as much as 11 points. They had a 10-point advantage with 12 minutes remaining in the game before Taylor slowly made a 17-7 run to tie the game at 60. The game included three ties and seven lead changes.

The Lady Lancers held Taylor, the 13th best 3-point shooting team in the nation, to 13 percent from beyond the arc on 2-of-15 shooting. Overall, Taylor shot 30 percent from the floor. Grace also only turned the ball over 15 times.

Heflin had a game-high 15 points, Danielle Boykin tallied 14 and Cashier totaled 12 points. Grace had their eighth consecutive game with 30 or more bench points, outscoring Taylor 39-28.

The victory was Grace’s second in a row and Taylor’s third consecutive loss.

“It’s been a long journey since day one,” Blum said. “Entering the season, our goal was to finish in the top four of the MCC. That goal is still obtainable. This win will encourage us and allow the women to be confident.”

Grace continues conference play at Spring Arbor on Saturday for a 1 p.m. start.

Bench Steps Up for First MCC Win


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Before the game on Tuesday, Grace’s women’s basketball team talked about always being ready to contribute. It couldn’t have been a more fitting topic.

The Lady Lancers’ bench rose to the challenge and outscored Goshen 30-2 en route to a 64-60 victory, their first conference win of the year.

“This afternoon, we had a devotion on being ready,” said head coach Scott Blum. “I told them that when it’s your time to get off the bench and get on the floor, you have to be ready to contribute in any way. Overall, it was a team win tonight. That’s good to say.”

From the start, the Maples Leafs (8-9; 0-3 MCC) built an early 14-3 lead over Grace, Goshen’s largest lead of the game. Grace, however, made a 20-5 charge over the next nine minutes. Six different players scored during the run, four of which were from Grace’s bench. The Lady Lancers (5-12; 1-3 MCC) built a 34-27 lead at halftime, their largest of the game.

Grace almost let the game slip away in the second half. For the first ten minutes, the Lady Lancers scored just four points, and Goshen mounted a 12-4 run to take their first lead since the 7:44 mark in the first half.

But again, Grace flexed their depth. Rianne Aguilar, Jayla Starks and Danielle Boykin came off the bench and helped the Lady Lancers build their lead back up to seven points before Goshen took a 53-52 lead at the 5:44 mark, their last lead of the game.

Grace’s Hayley Cashier came off the bench and hit two clutch outside jump shots from the top of the key, and Starks iced the Lady Maple Leafs by draining four consecutive free throws at the end of the game.

“Our bench scoring has been consistent,” Blum continued. “We get 20-30 points a night from our bench. That puts a lot of pressure on our opponents. I would say that we may be one of the deepest teams in the conference.”

Hannah Lengel led the Lady Lancers with 16 points while Kayla Skaggs and Boykin added nine apiece. Skaggs led the team in rebounding with seven boards. Grace had 11 different players score in the contest while Goshen only had five.

Grace continues conference play at home against Taylor on Thursday at 7 p.m.

“It’s good to get our first conference win,” Blum said. “Now we have to enjoy it tonight until 10 o’clock when practice starts tomorrow. We have Taylor at home and hope to get another victory on Thursday night.”

Grace Falls to Ohio Dominican in Christmas Clash


ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Grace gave up seven first half 3-pointers to Ohio Dominican in their 68-81 loss in the second game of the Concordia Christmas Clash on Saturday.

Ohio Dominican, who is ranked No. 7 in the NAIA in 3-pointers per game (8.6), torched Grace from beyond the arc in the first half, which resulted in a 31-43 first half Grace deficit.

After shooting 7-for-12 from the 3-point line in the first half, the Lady Lancers (4-12) held Ohio Dominican to 1-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc in the second half. As a result, the two teams traded baskets throughout the half and Grace was only outscored 37-38 in the second period.

"We allowed too many threes in the first half," said head coach Scott Blum. "If we would have only gave them one or two 3-pointers in the first half, we would have won the ball game."

Grace cut the Lady Panthers' (6-7) lead to six points with 1:54 remaining in the game but Ohio Dominican earned the victory at the free throw line.

"The girls played hard this weekend," Blum continued. "If we can put it together for 40 minutes, we could be a very dangerous team.

Grace had 24 turnovers, including 14 in the first half, compared to the Lady Panthers' (6-7) 13 total turnovers. Ohio Dominican outscored the Lady Lancers 27-16 on points off turnovers. Grace was also whistled for 25 fouls compared to Ohio Dominican's 10.

Hannah Lengel played well for Grace and tallied 18 points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc and 7-of-11 shooting overall. Emily Bidwell tallied 8 points and grabbed 6 rebounds while Kate ball added 9 points. Morgan DiAntonio had a solid stat line with 7 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.

Grace returns to action against Goshen College on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m.

Strong Second Half Snaps Losing Streak


ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After a dreadful 8-of-40 shooting performance in the first half, Grace's women's basketball team responded with a 51-point second half in a 72-53 win over Malone in the Concordia Christmas Clash on Friday. The win snaps a six-game losing streak.

Despite hitting only 20 percent of their shots in the first half, the Lady Lancers (4-11) found themselves down by only three at the half, 24-21.

But Grace started to find the mark in the second half, hitting 54.3 percent from the field, including 13-of-14 from the free throw line. The Lady Pioneers (2-9) couldn't match that pace and quickly fell out of striking distance.

"It was a tale of two games. We missed shots the first half, but our defense kept us in the game," said head coach Scott Blum. "I'm happy for the girls to put things together. I think everybody contributed tonight."

Hannah Lengel paced Grace with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Kayla Skaggs scored a game-high 13 points and ripped down 8 boards and freshman Emily Bidwell recorded 8 points and 8 rebounds. Jayla Starks provided a lift off the bench with 10 points and 3 assists in 9 minutes on the court.

The Lady Lancers return to action tomorrow in the final day of the Concordia Tournament against Ohio Dominican at 3 p.m.

Second Half Turnovers Lead to Grace Loss


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace's women's basketball team committed 16 second half turnovers in their 76-86 loss to Indiana University-South Bend on Saturday.

The Lady Titans (11-3), who are receiving votes in the NAIA Div. I poll, led by a mere two points (44-42) entering halftime. After just 7 Lady Lancer turnovers in the first half, Grace had eight turnovers in nine possessions at the beginning of the second half, and IU-South Bend expanded their lead to double-figures.

Autumn Heflin tried to give the Lady Lancers (3-11; 0-3 MCC) a boost, scoring eight of Grace's 10 points midway through the period. IU-South Bend, however, continued to execute at the free-throw line after Grace picked up 7 early fouls to put them in the bonus situation. IU-South Bend knocked down 28-of-31 from the charity stripe on the day.

In the absence of Demetria Eley, Grace's leading scorer and rebounder, Danielle Boykin came up big for the Lady Lancers, scoring a season-high 21 points in just 15 minutes of play. Emily Bidwell added 15 points and grabbed 6 rebounds while Autumn Heflin tallied 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Grace's post players scored 54 of the Lady Lancers' 76 points.

"Emily stepped up and got us off to a great start with her defensive ability," Blum continued. "Danielle also came off the bench and gave us some big minutes. We wanted to work on getting the ball in the post on offense. We tried to but unfortunately, we couldn't get our offense set up during the second half."

The loss is Grace's sixth in a row.

The Lady Lancers are back in action against Malone University at the Concordia tournament this weekend. Game time is 8 p.m. Their next home game against Goshen College on Jan. 5.

Slow Start Dooms Grace against Indiana Tech


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace’s women’s basketball couldn’t overcome a slow start in their 67-71 loss to Indiana Tech on Tuesday, their fifth straight loss.

The Lady Lancers (3-10; 0-3 MCC) fell behind early and didn’t break the 10-point barrier until more than midway through the first half. Indiana Tech led the entire contest.

“Tonight, we started playing 14 minutes into the game,” said head coach Scott Blum. “I told the ladies at the end of the game that we need to prepare ourselves to play. We can’t start 10 points down. We’ve been doing that the last couple of games.”

Grace battled back at the end of the first half to eek within seven. They continued to hang tough with the Lady Warriors (3-6) throughout the second half, outscoring them 39-36 in the period, but couldn’t take the lead.

The Lady Lancers continued to struggle from the 3-point line, making 3-of-14 on the day and turned the ball over 22 times.

Kayla Skaggs led Grace with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting while Emily Bidwell came off the bench and tallied 11 points and grabbed six rebounds in 11 minutes of play.

“Emily has done very well as a freshman,” Blum said. “She just attacks the rebounds relentlessly. It showed tonight. What she did tonight will get her more playing time.”

Blum also started both Hannah Lengel and Morgan DiAntonio, who typically complement one another at the point guard position. Blum made the change to utilize DiAntonio's rebounding at the guard position -- she has led Grace in rebounding the past two contests.

Freshman Samantha Fields backed up Lengel and added five points off the bench, while Lengel had nine points, and DiAntonio had five assists.

The night was especially significant for sophomore transfer Danielle Boykin who was playing against her former team for the first time. Boykin finished the game with four points and three rebounds.

Grace plays IU-South Bend at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Foresters Too Much for Grace to Handle


HUNTINGTON, Ind. -- Hot shooting by Huntington coupled with turnover problems by the Lady Lancers proved to be a lethal combination for Grace's women's basketball team on Saturday in their 82-62 loss.

The Lady Lancers (3-9-0-3 MCC) could only muster 23 points in the first half after turning the ball over 14 times to allow the Lady Foresters (7-3; 1-1 MCC) to jump out to a 34-23 lead at the break.

Huntington came out strong in the opening minutes of the first half to extend their lead to 18 at 48-30. The Lady Foresters maintained their advantage by sinking almost 88% of their free throws. Huntington scored over half of its point total from the free throw line, knocking down 42-of-48.

Grace was led by sophomore forward Kayla Skaggs who tallied 10 points. No other player reached double digits for the Lady Lancers. On the other hand, Huntington placed five players in double figures, led by Courtney Beerbower's 19.

Playing well off the bench for Grace was Danielle Boykin (7 points), Emily Bidwell and Hayley Cashier (6 points each).

The women struggled mightily from the line, with Grace netting only 53.3% of their 30 attempts. Grace outrebounded Huntington by one, but 25 turnovers were too much to overcome.

"We started off decent the first couple of minutes," said head coach Scott Blum. "Mentally, they weren't ready to play, and physically, we just didn't set up our offense. We need to work on being more physical, and our shooting at the free throw line definitely killed us."

The women play at home on Tuesday against Indiana Tech at 7 p.m.

Nailbiting Loss For Grace Against Marian


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Grace’s women’s basketball team rebounded after a poor first-half performance only to lose 70-69 to Marian University in the final
seconds of the game.

The Lady Lancers (3-8; 0-2 MCC) were tied with under 30 seconds to play after a free throw from senior Demetria Eley, but the Lady Knights hit a free throw of their own with two seconds left to grab the win.

Grace struggled from the onset of the game, giving up a double-digit lead for most of the first half. The Lady Knights (4-4; 2-0 MCC) led by 14 points with twenty seconds to play before halftime, but Hannah Lengel and Autumn Heflin hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 11 seconds to close the gap to 36-28 at half.

That momentum did not last long, however, as Marian reasserted control of the game, driving its lead to as much as 19 points with 14:30 remaining in the game.

The Lady Lancers decided to switch up their strategy at that point and used a full-court press to swing the game back to their favor. The women chipped away at Marian's lead for the next fifteen minutes and brought the game to one point with 1:33 remaining on an and-one bucket by Eley.

"We came up short, but we changed things up in the second half," said head coach Scott Blum. "We shot a lot better in the second half. We just didn't come to play defense tonight. We had our chances."

After Marian missed two free throws to keep the score at 69-68, Eley was fouled again on the other end with 22 seconds remaining. Eley missed the first shot but sank the second to tie the game.

Marian's Megan Egenolf responded on the other end by drawing a foul with two seconds remaining in the game. She hit one of two free throws to give Marian the lead, and Heflin's desperation attempt was off-target.

Eleven Grace players scored on the evening led by Eley's 13 points. Hayley Cashier added nine points while Lengel and Rianne Aguilar chipped in eight apiece. Morgan DiAntonio tallied five points and led the team with seven rebounds.

Grace returns to action Saturday for another MCC matchup at Huntington University. The tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Grace Slips At End Against Lady Pilots


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- For the second game in a row, Grace's women's basketball team nearly knocked off a ranked opponent.

The Lady Lancers (3-7; 0-1 Mid-Central College Conference) fell to No. 8 Bethel College 71-63 in their conference opener at the Orthopaedic Capital Center after giving up a 12-0 run late in the second half.

After controlling the first 33 minutes of the game, Grace was up by eight, 48-40, with nine minutes remaining but went scoreless for the next four minutes. The Lady Pilots' (8-2; 1-0 MCC) full-court press slowed down Grace's offense, causing four missed shots and four turnovers during that span. With 7:10 remaining, Bethel grabbed a 50-48 advantage, their first lead of the game, and never looked back.

"We coughed the ball up too many times," said head coach Scott Blum. "We were too timid and didn't play in attack mode. They had the momentum, and we went into a panic."

Transfer guard Autumn Heflin gave Grace a boost early in the game. Heflin drained three 3-pointers, scoring nine of Grace's first 17 points. Bethel tied the game twice in the first half but never took the lead. The Lady Lancers entered halftime with a 32-29 lead.

Grace had a strong second half start as well. They scored two quick buckets, and Hannah Lengel sunk a 3-pointer to build an 11-point lead, their largest of the game. After Grace gave up the lead with seven minutes remaining, they were never able to regain the lead.

Heflin had the game's only double-double with 10 rebounds and 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Demetria Eley (12 points, 5 rebounds) and Kayla Skaggs (10 points, 6 rebounds) played well in the post for the Lady Lancers. Lengel added 12 points, six assists and four boards on the evening.

Grace had a higher shooting percentage and outrebounded Bethel by 14. However, the Lady Pilots had eight fewer turnovers (22-14) and took 19 more free-throw attempts (27-8).

"We know we can play with anyone in the country right now," Blum continued. "We need to work on attacking with the basketball and taking care of the ball. If we do those things, we can get some more wins."

Grace travels to Indianapolis to play Marian at 7 p.m. next Wednesday.

Grace Falls to No. 11 Cedarville


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace’s women’s basketball team showed they could compete with a top team in the nation on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (3-6) made a second half charge and challenged No. 11 Cedarville. The Lady Yellow Jackets (3-1), however, pulled away at the end of regulation and defeated Grace 80-69 in the final game of the 2009 Grace Classic.

After trailing by 15 at the beginning of the second half, Grace’s Jayla Starks sparked a 15-0 run, draining three 3-pointers in four possessions.

Grace grabbed a 2-point lead at the 13:11 mark, their first lead since two minutes into the game. Cedarville responded with on a 10-0 run to take a 60-52 lead.

Again, the Lady Lancers didn’t go away. They rallied to cut Cedarville's lead to three points at 65-62 with 4:48 remaining. Cedarville's Kara Cayton hit a deep 3-pointer on the left wing as the shot clock expired to put the dagger in Grace's comeback.

The women had four players in double-digits. Kayla Skaggs led Grace with 13 points, and Hannah Lengel, Emily Bidwell, and Starks each contributed 11 points. Lengel also added six assists and three steals.

Grace had a season-low 10 turnovers compared to 17 for Cedarville.

The Lady Lancers begin conference play at home against Bethel on Tuesday. Game time is 7 p.m.

Lady Lancers Top 100 in Win at Grace Classic


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace’s shooting finally came around on Friday night in their 101-81 victory over St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in the opening night of the Grace Classic.

The Lady Lancers (3-5) shot 46.7% from the 3-point line, shattering their previous 20.3% season average; and they shot 46.8% from the field and 81.5% from the free throw line. Their victory was also the first time they have scored over 100 points since their 111-31 victory over Rose-Hulman in 1995.

“That is two games now that we are playing better without Kiera Gray (who had a season ending ACL tear in the third game of the year),” said head coach Scott Blum. “We have to move forward now. We know Kiera is not with us. We just carried that over to tonight. We had very good practices this week and just focused on running our offense tonight.”

After a double-digit 53-42 lead at halftime, the Lady Pomeroys (2-2) slowly fought their way back and tied the game 69-69 with 10 minutes remaining the game, the closest they had been since the 12:46 mark in the first half.

“I remember calling a timeout when it was a tie ball game,” Blum said. “We have been in the same situation all year. We decided to call off our zone and went man-to-man. They took the challenge, and we went out there.”

Grace responded with a strong 32-12 run to finish the game, snapping their previous four-game losing streak.

“We had more intensity and will," Blum added. "We weren’t going to allow ourselves to lose this game. I’m very satisfied with our effort. We were down a little bit, and our girls didn’t give up. Tonight’s win was a great catapult for the rest of the season.”

Along with their superb shooting, Grace also had a season-low 12 turnovers after averaging 24.6 turnovers for the season entering Friday’s game.

Grace’s four post players combined for 52 of Grace’s 101 points. Danielle Boykin had a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds; Demetria Eley tallied 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds; Emily Bidwell had a career-high 13 points; and Hayley Cashier had eight points.

Rianne Aguilar totaled 12 points, Hannah Lengel added 11 points and five assists, and Autumn Heflin had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

The Lady Lancers’ next two games feature NAIA ranked opponents. They face #11 Cedarville at 3 p.m. on Saturday in the final game of the Grace Classic, and they host #8 Bethel College at Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Skaggs Has Career Day, Grace Falls to Siena


ADRIAN, Mich. -- Despite shooting just 32.4% in the first half, Grace's women's basketball team had a four-point lead at halftime against Siena Heights University.

Grace, however, continued to struggle from the floor in the second half and the Lady Saints (1-0) shot a scorching 64 percent on their way to a 76-66 victory. Grace shot under 35 percent in the second half and shot 16.7% (2-of-12) from the three-point line for the game. The loss was the Lady Lancers' (2-5) fourth in a row.

"It was a tougher team tonight so even though it was a loss, we are improving," said head coach Scott Blum. "We will be ready for this weekend."

In the absence of last year's leading scorer Kiera Gray, who tore her ACL in the third game of the season, sophomore forward Kayla Skaggs had a career day and led Grace with 23 points in 27 minutes. She connected on 9-of-15 shooting including 2-of-4 from downtown and grabbed six rebounds, four of them on the offensive end.

After trailing Siena 23-13 in the first half, Grace mounted a comeback and went on a 19-7 run to close the half with the lead.

The Lady Lancers kept the game close in the second half by being active on the offensive glass, grabbing 20 offensive rebounds in the game. But Grace's poor shooting was too much to overcome, and Siena built a game-high 14-point lead to run away with the win.

Grace had a season-low 18 turnovers and knocked down 18-of-23 attempts from the free throw line.

The Lady Lancers are back in action this weekend, as they host the Grace Classic featuring Taylor, Cedarville and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. They play St. Mary at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Women Drop Third Straight


NEW ALBANY, Ind. -- Grace's women's basketball team lost its third consecutive game on Saturday, falling to IU-Southeast 74-63 in the Grenadier Invitational Tournament.

The Lady Lancers (2-4) were coming off a tough loss the night before against the University of Northwestern Ohio, in which turnovers caused Grace to give up a second-half lead.

On Saturday, turnovers once again plagued the Lady Lancers as they gave up 26. In their five games this season, Grace has had more than 25 turnovers in every game but one.

The Lady Grenadiers (3-2) also won the free-throw battle, recording 26 points from the charity stripe compared to Grace's 11. IU-Southeast shot an impressive 83.9% (26-for-31) on free throws, while Grace struggled at 64.7% (11-for-17).

IU-Southeast took a 9-point lead going into halftime at 35-26, and Grace was never able to cut into the deficit despite making 50.0% (15-of-30) of their shots in the second half.

Senior Demetria Eley had her third straight game in double figures with 18 points on 8-of-14 from the field, and she pulled down six rebounds. Eley was named to the All-Tournament Team for her play over the weekend.

"Demetria played another solid game for us and had that intensity we needed all game," said head coach Scott Blum. "Unfortunately, the rest of our team didn't have that same intensity."

Forward Kayla Skaggs recorded her first game of the season in double figures with 10 points and five boards (all offensive), and guard Jayla Starks added nine points.

Six games into the season, the Lady Lancers have yet to find the mark from beyond the arc. They have not shot over 35% from the 3-point line and are averaging a mere 22.4% from downtown for the season. On Saturday, Grace hit 25.0% (2-of-8).

The Lady Lancers return to action Nov. 17 at Siena Heights for a 7:30 p.m. start.

Grace Unable to Finish


NEW ALBANY, Ind. -- For the third consecutive game, Grace's women's basketball team gave up a huge run in the second half.

The Lady Lancers (2-3) had a 44-34 lead with 12:28 remaining before yielding a 15-2 run against the University of Northwestern Ohio on Friday night in their 56-53 loss in the Grenadier Invitational Tournament.

Grace had the ball and was clinging to a four-point cushion with two minutes remaining. However, the Lady Racers (2-0) capitalized off three Lady Lancer turnovers to grab a 54-53 lead. Grace turned the ball over two more times before the end of regulation, and UNOH made a pair of free throws down the stretch to ice the game.

Head coach Scott Blum wanted his offense to go through his post players during Friday's game. They did just that. Senior Demetria Eley played well, totaling 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and grabbed seven boards. Freshman Danielle Boykin also scored in double figures, backing Eley up with 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

"Overall, there was good play inside, led by Demetria," Blum said. "But at the end of the game, we couldn't get the ball up the floor and into our posts."

Grace outrebounded the Lady Racers 47-28 and outshot their opponent 43.9% to 33.3%. However, the Lady Lancers had twice as many turnovers (28) as UNOH, with 18 of them coming in the second half.

"Without Kiera Gray (who is out for the season with a torn ACL), we need someone to come in and step up," Blum continued. "Hopefully we will figure that out and bounce back after two tough losses."

In their two previous games, Grace gave up a 17-3 run in a one-point loss against Calumet College of St. Joseph and a 13-0 run in a victory over Ohio University Eastern.

Interestingly, UNOH nailed nine 3-pointers in 32 attempts. They took two more attempts beyond the arc than they did 2-point shots.

The Lady Lancers will take on IU-Southeast Saturday at 1 p.m. in the final game of the tournament.

Poor Shooting Leads to Lady Lancers' Loss


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Every statistic lined up for a Grace College victory over Calumet College of St. Joseph on Wednesday. Except one.

The women’s basketball team tallied 54 steals, forced 31 turnovers and took 19 more shots than the Crimson Wave. The Lady Lancers (2-2), however, only shot 27 percent from the field and allowed Calumet to make a big second-half run.

“I look at the stats and I don’t know how we lost,” Blum said. “Overall, I think we executed our offense well. That’s why I am kind of dumbfounded here. We got shots in the post; we just didn’t finish our shots.”

Grace had an 11-point lead, their largest of the game, midway through the second half before the Crimson Wave (3-1) made a 17-3 charge to take a 46-43 lead with five minutes remaining. The lead was Calumet’s first since their 2-3 advantage in the first three minutes of the game.

“Basketball is a game of spurts,” Blum said. “Until they learn how to put games away, every game will be a battle.”

The Crimson Wave had a 51-47 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the game when Grace’s Autumn Heflin drained two clutch free throws to get the Lady Lancers within two. Calumet made two more free throws on the following possession, giving them a 53-49 lead.

On the inbound pass, Calumet’s lock-down defense forced Daniel Boykin to make a dangerous quarterback throw to Heflin past the timeline. Her desperation hurl was perfect and Heflin scored a quick layup with 12 seconds remaining, making the score 51-53.

Grace was again forced to send Calumet to the free-throw line on the next possession. The Crimson Wave’s Whitney Bonham made the first attempt but missed the second. Her teammate Whitney Bonham, however, grabbed her 12th rebound of the game on the loose ball to clinch the victory. Hannah Lengel made a three-pointer as time expired, making the final score 55-54.

Grace gave up 11 offensive rebounds during the contest, 10 of them in the second half.

“Our game plan was to make them shoot from the outside,” Blum continued. “We did a good job of that but we didn’t get the rebound when they took their jump shots. They got second and third opportunities and hung around.”

Similar to Grace’s 13-0 start at homecoming on Saturday, the Lady Lancers again jumped to a 16-5 start. Scrappy defense on both ends led to a low-scoring first half, as the score remained 16-5 with nine minutes remaining in the period. Grace led by two at halftime.

The Lady Lancers started the second half strong as well, making an 11-4 run before the Crimson Wave mounted their comeback.

Grace had three women in double figures. Demetria Eley led with 11 points and seven rebounds; Hannah Lengel added 10 points, five assists and four steals; and Heflin tallied 10 points and four rebounds.

The Lady Lancers travel to Indiana University-Southeast for a tournament on Friday and Saturday. The women will square off against the University of Northwestern Ohio Friday at 5:30 p.m.

Fast Start Leads to Grace Win; Eley Scores 1,000th


WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace college's women's basketball team opened the game on a 13-0 run and held on down the stretch for a 63-57 homecoming win over Ohio University-Eastern.

Sophomore point guard Hannah Lengel led the way with 12 points, 10 of which came in Grace's dominant first half. Lengel also recorded three steals in the first half, and the Lady Lancers (2-1) forced the Panthers into 20 first half turnovers. Skaggs scored all eight of her points in the first half, and Grace went into the locker room with a 14 point lead.

Eley eclipsed the 1,000th point mark with a basket in the first half. Eley became the 11th member of the 1,000 points club and passed Rachel Jeffreys for the 10th all-time later in the game. Eley finished the game with six points, eight rebounds and four steals.

Grace and Ohio University Eastern (0-1) played even during most of the second half until Lady Panthers made a comeback with four minutes remaining in the game. Up 61-43 the Lady Lancers turned the ball over several times against the Panther's defense and gave up a 13-0 run to chop the lead to five points with two minutes remaining.

But Grace overcame 26 turnovers after Lengel sank two free throws to seal the win in the home opener. Rianne Aguilar. Hayley Cashier, and Danielle Boykin also added six points each in the victory. Grace's defense held the Lady Panthers to 32 percent shooting from the field and recorded 20 steals, including three each from Lengel, Aguilar, and Jayla Starks.

The Lady Lancers are back in action at the OCC against Calumet St. Joseph at 7:00 pm on November 11.

Second Half Push Gives Grace Its First Win


GARY, Ind. -- Down by eight points to IU-Northwest with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter, the Lady Lancers seemed destined to start the season with two straight losses.

But the Grace College women's basketball team rebounded down the stretch and outscored their opponent 16-7 in overtime to win 77-68, the Lady Lancers' first victory of the season.

Grace struggled against IU-Northwest's (0-1) zone defense for much of the first half and found themselves down by double-digits at halftime, 33-23. According to head coach Scott Blum, the women failed to connect on open shots against the zone and fouled too often in the first half.

"Overall, we took several bad shots in the half, and we just kind of played on eggshells," Blum said. "The patience and the poise of an older team just wasn't there."

The second half started with much of the same, with IU-Northwest maintaining an eight-to-ten point lead for the duration of the period. Finally, Blum called a timeout and transitioned the Lady Lancers (1-1) into a full-court defense. Freshman Rianne Aguilar sparked several fastbreak opportunities with her defense during that time, and the Lady Lancers made some big shots down the stretch, including a clutch three-pointer from Hannah Lengel.

The Lady Lancers even had a chance to win the game in regulation but missed a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left. In the extra period, Grace jumped out to an early lead with a couple of quick baskets and held off IU-Northwest down the stretch to preserve the win.

Grace returns to action this Saturday for Homecoming against Ohio University-Eastern. Game time at the Orthopaedic Capital Center is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Women's Basketball Opens Season at Holy Cross


NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Grace's women's basketball team began the 2009-10 season with a 68-56 loss to Holy Cross College on Wednesday. The Lady Lancers were up most of the first half and even were tied at halftime, 25-25.

But the women couldn't overcome poor shooting (29.5 percent for the game) and had to settle for the 12-point loss to the Lady Saints, who are beginning their inaugural season for the women's basketball team.

"We executed our best, we battled, but we gave up too many things as well," said head coach Scott Blum. "We started settling for jump shots instead of attacking more."

The Lady Lancers (0-1) were led in scoring by Kiera Gray, who had a game-high 17 points to go along with four steals. Freshman Emily Bidwell had an impressive first game, scoring 10 points and grabbing four rebounds in 13 minutes.

Grace's shooting woes started early in the game when the women connected on 7-of-28 from the field (25 percent) in the first half. "We actually executed our offense very well," Blum said, "but we just couldn't hit the open shots."

On defense, Grace forced the Lady Saints (1-0) into 26 turnovers, including 12 steals, held their opponents to 34.5 percent shooting from the floor, and even won the rebounding battle by eight (43-35); however, Grace's shots couldn't find their marks, as evidenced by the team's 1-for-10 performance from beyond the arc.

Six new players took to the floor for the Lady Lancers in their season opener, including Danielle Boykin (sophomore transfer from Indiana Tech), who tallied six points, three rebounds, and two steals as a starter. Autumn Heflin (junior transfer from Sinclair Community College) also played well in her first game as a Lancer with six points, four rebounds, and three assists.

"We just didn't get the job done, but we'll move on," Blum continued. "This game will make us better. We will rebound, take things away from tonight, and definitely improve."

The Lady Lancers return to action Tuesday at IU-Northwest. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.