Pictured is Juaneice Jackson driving against IWU's Taylor Goshert on Wednesday
An intense, physical game between Grace’s women’s basketball team and No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan boiled down to the final four seconds.
The Lady Lancers won the game at the free throw line as Sarah Feasby netted the game-winning foul shots with 3.6 seconds left, lifting Grace to a 69-67 victory on Wednesday.
The Lady Lancers (11-12; 7-4 Crossroads League) were in front 66-62 with 22 seconds left, but the Wildcats scrambled late to tie the score on a driving layup with seven seconds to play.
Feasby then dribbled down the right side of the court and was fouled by IWU with less than four seconds on the clock. After the sophomore calmly sank both shots, Indiana Wesleyan raced down the court and missed a 3-pointer to send the Lady Lancers to a major upset of the Wildcats.
The win was Grace’s first over the Wildcats since toppling the then-No. 1 ranked Wildcats on Jan. 25, 2012.
“Our team decided we have to play ‘smash mouth’ basketball, so that was our mindset tonight. We needed great effort defensively to be aggressive and wear them down,” said Grace head coach Scott Blum. “The girls deserved the win after working as hard as they did for 40 minutes. They executed to the buzzer and beat IWU at their own game.”
Although Grace led for much of the contest, the Lady Lancers were never ahead by more their 18-12 advantage midway into the first half. A tremendous defensive effort forced the Wildcats (19-4; 9-2 CL) into 10 turnovers before halftime.
The Lady Lancers scored 18 of their 24 first-half points in the paint, taking a 24-23 advantage into halftime.
The Wildcats picked up momentum to start the second half and claimed a five-point lead with 14:30 remaining in the game. Grace battled back with a 9-2 run of its own thanks to four points from JoEllen Fickel and five from Allison Kauffman.
IWU regained the lead at 57-54 with 4:40 left, but Grace went on top for good with back-to-back clutch shots. Juaneice Jackson buried a jumper to bring Grace within one, and Kauffman converted a three-point play on Grace’s next possession to swing momentum back to the Lady Lancers.
Despite the Wildcats desperate push in the final minute, Grace converted its chances from the free throw line to seal the victory. The Lady Lancers made seven free throws in the final 42 seconds, including the game-winning pair from Feasby.
Jackson poured in a game-best 23 points to go along with five assists. Kauffman scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half, and Fickel just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. Lindsey Schaefer also added seven points and five boards.
The Lady Lancers, winners of their last three games, will take on Goshen on the road on Saturday at 1 p.m.