Five players scored in double figures for Grace’s women’s basketball team in a 78-61 victory over Bethel on Saturday.
The win secured Grace’s season sweep over its rivals and also moved the Lady Lancers into a tie for fifth place in the Crossroads League standings. The three-way tie means that Grace (16-14, 9-9 CL) will be the No. 6 seed in next week’s CL Tournament and will travel to third-seeded St. Francis on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Micah Pollard led all players with a career-high 16 points off the bench, hitting 7-of-9 from the floor and grabbing five rebounds in 25 minutes.
The Lady Lancers’ defensive focus and rebounding edge proved too much for the Lady Pilots (10-20, 4-14 CL). Bethel was stifled into shooting 36 percent for the game, and they were outrebounded by 13.
The game started Bethel’s way as the Pilots scored on the first possession. The Pilots went ahead 14-8 after six minutes of action and still led by seven a few minutes later.
Grace scrapped its way back in front by halftime, however. Sparked by second-chance points, the Lady Lancers went on a 14-1 run over a five-minute span. Eight of the 14 points in Grace’s spurt came off offensive rebounds, and JoEllen Fickel also drew two charges in that spurt.
After Kelsie Peterson hit a pair of free throws, Grace led 34-25 with less than three minutes to play. The score at halftime was 38-31. Nine of the 10 Lady Lancers to see the court in the first half scored a point. Although Grace had 12 turnovers in the first period, the hosts also made 47 percent of its field goals.
In the second half, Grace scored six quick points to open up a double-digit lead, but the game was not decided yet. A rebound putback from Lindsey Schaefer put Grace on top 48-35, but the Lady Pilots rattled off a 16-8 run to storm back to within five.
The game was still close at 60-55 with less than 11 minutes to play. But Grace effectively ended Bethel’s threat with 14 straight points over the next six minutes. Allison Kauffman had seven points during the 14-0 run, and Gabby Bryant added five.
The Pilots were held to just six points over the final 10:55 of the game as Grace eased away for the rout.
Grace’s plus-13 advantage on the boards helped nullify 17 turnovers and poor outside shooting (2-for-13). The Lady Lancers also had a strong day at the free throw line by making 16-of-21 (76 percent).
Kauffman notched her 26th game of the season in double-figure scoring, tallying 15 points with 10 rebounds. Schaefer also had a double-double for Grace with 10 points and a career-best 15 boards.
Bryant notched 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, recording her third double-figure scoring game in the last four contests. Peterson had 11 points, Chloe Pridgen scored six points in eight minutes, and Heather House added three steals off the bench.