Pictured is Gabby Bryant driving against Taylor. She scored 17 points in Grace's win.
Grace’s women’s basketball continued its climb up the Crossroads League standings, muscling its way to a 66-62 victory over Taylor on Saturday.
The Lady Lancers (12-10, 5-5 CL) tied a season-low with nine turnovers to help avenge an earlier loss against the Trojans. With the win, Grace moved into a tie for sixth place in the league standings, just two games out of second.
Allison Kauffman impressed in the victory, leading all players with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Starting off the game, Taylor jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead to prompt an early timeout from head coach Scott Blum. Grace’s offense sputtered over the first eight minutes of action, managing just two points.
The Lady Lancers’ offense started the game hitting 1-of-9 from the floor with three turnovers. Taylor used Grace’s offensive woes to go ahead 23-11 midway into the first half, but the Lady Lancers used a furious rally to climb back into contention.
A 12-2 run sparked Grace’s comeback, allowing the Lady Lancers to trail by two 29-27 at the half. Grace earned its points down low, scoring 20 of its 27 points from the paint.
Grace claimed its first lead of the game two minutes into the second half after back-to-back scores from Gabby Bryant and Darian Patton put Grace ahead 32-31.
The lead changed hands four times over the next five minutes, foreshadowing what would be a tense finish to the game.
Grace thought it had pulled away after ripping off 11 unanswered points midway into the half. The final points of Grace’s run came on a three-point play from Sarah Feasby. She converted a steal and fastbreak layup to put Grace ahead 54-46 with 8:30left in the game.
The Trojans (13-9, 6-4 CL) were far from finished, however. Taylor used a 14-4 run over the next 4:39, clawing back on top 60-58 with less than four minutes remaining.
Grace’s defense clamped down at that point as Taylor would not make another field goal for the remainder of the contest. Micah Pollard tied the game 60-60 on a drive to the basket, and Kauffman put Grace ahead with a pair of free throws.
Taylor hit two free throws of its own to tie the game at 62-62 with 58 seconds left, and Pollard came through with another clutch driving basket 15 seconds later to put Grace on top for good. After Kauffman came up with Grace’s 10th steal of the game on Taylor’s next possession, Gabby Bryant sealed the victory with two free throws.
For the game Grace forced Taylor into 18 turnovers, enjoying 26 points off the Trojans’ miscues. Grace made just 39 percent of its field goals compared to 46 percent for Taylor, but the Lady Lancers took care of the basketball with three turnovers in the second half.
Bryant had the second-highest scoring output of her career with 17 points, hitting 6-of-12 from the floor. Feasby’s 11 points and Pollard’s 10 points gave Grace a crucial spark off the bench, and Kelsie Peterson netted seven points.
The Lady Lancers now face a stiff six-game road streak. Grace will play at league-leading Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday at 7 p.m.. Grace’s next home game is on Feb. 18 against Mt. Vernon Nazarene.