Grace’s women’s basketball team was unable to complete its furious comeback bid against No. 7 Marian on Wednesday.
The first-half struggles from the Lady Lancers (13-14, 6-9 Crossroads League) proved too much for Grace to overcome in a 53-47 defeat.
Grace had its third-straight game scoring less than 55 points on Wednesday, but the Lady Lancers’ defensive effort kept Grace within striking distance.
Grace’s offensive woes were at their peak in the first half. The Lady Lancers needed 7:58 to get on the scoreboard courtesy of a shot from Lindsey Schaefer.
The Knights (23-4, 12-3 CL) used Grace’s struggles to open up a commanding 18-2 lead. Grace took another five minutes to score its third and fourth points, thanks to Schaefer’s basket again.
By halftime, Grace’s offense had regulated, but the Lady Lancers still found themselves behind 32-17. Grace made just 16 percent (5-of-31) of its field goals over the first 20 minutes. The Lady Lancers also struggled in ball control with zero assists and 10 turnovers.
The teams swapped baskets in the second half, and the shooting percentages seemed to follow suit. Grace improved to making 42 percent after halftime while Marian struggled at 24 percent. Marian’s lead was quickly whittled to 10 as Grace scored the first five points of the second half.
The Lady Lancers continued to rally, scoring eight straight points to bring the score to 37-32 with 10:30 remaining on a 3-pointer from Gabby Bryant.
Marian regained its composure and reestablished a 10-point advantage with six minutes left, but Grace did not go down easily. A pair of free throws from Darian Patton cut the lead to six with 2:07 on the clock. Grace then made two straight defensive stops, but the Lady Lancers came up empty on both offensive trips.
After Marian hit a free throw, Micah Pollard raced down the court to score and make the game 50-45 with 43 seconds to play.
Grace sent Marian to the free throw line down the stretch, and the strategy paid off as the Knights hit just 3-of-6 over the final 40 seconds. But Grace was unable to capitalize by missing three of its final four shots.
Overall, Grace finished the game shooting 28 percent while committing 21 turnovers. Grace was 3-of-14 from beyond the arc and missed its first nine treys of the game. The Lady Lancers did hold a 44-33 advantage in rebounding.
Bryant led Grace in scoring with 12 points, making 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. Pollard had her second straight game in double figures with 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
The Lady Lancers wrap up their six-game road stretch on Saturday when Grace plays at No. 19 Huntington at 1 p.m. The Foresters will be Grace’s third consecutive ranked opponent.