All-American Juaneice Jackson added another highlight to her memorable career on Wednesday night, pouring in 32 points to lead Grace’s women’s basketball team to a 81-78 victory over Mount Vernon Nazarene.
The senior guard broke her career record with 13 made field goals, tallying her second 30-plus scoring game of the season.
The win also gives Grace its 11th Crossroads League victory of the season, marking the first time Grace has eclipsed 10 league wins in team history.
Grace’s offense was in rare form in the opening period as the Lady Lancers (15-14; 11-6 CL) torched the Cougars for 46 points. Jackson had 17 points in 15 minutes of action in the first half, and Grace made a sizzling 58 percent of their field goals.
The Cougars (5-21; 4-13 CL) committed 12 turnovers in the first half and trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half. Despite a late push from Mt. Vernon, Grace still owned a 46-36 advantage at halftime.
Grace again built up an 18-point cushion three minutes into the second half, but Mt. Vernon mounted a 12-0 run to slice Grace’s lead to six with 13:41 to play.
From that point on, the Lady Lancers maintained a single-digit lead until the final buzzer. The Cougars eventually clawed their way back to a one-possession game in the final minutes, but Jackson and Darian Patton scored four points apiece in the final five minutes to ensure a Lady Lancer victory.
In the final 30 seconds, Patton made a driving basket to give Grace a four-point lead and took a charge on the Cougars’ next possession to swing the game in Grace’s favor for good. The Cougars had a fullcourt play to potentially tie the game at the buzzer, but their long pass was intercepted by Gabby Bryant.
Jackson was efficient in her 32-point outburst, hitting 13-of-18 from the floor. She was 2-of-4 from the 3-point line, tallying 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals as well.
Allison Kauffman scored 14 of her 20 points in the first half, connecting on 8-of-11 shooting, and Patton ended with eight points. JoEllen Fickel hauled in 10 boards, and Lindsey Schaefer tallied nine points.
Grace shot a better rate from the field (56.1 percent) than it did from the free throw line (55.6 percent) on Wednesday.
The Lady Lancers conclude the regular season on Saturday when they take part in a women’s/men’s doubleheader at rival Bethel College. The Lady Lancers will tip off at 1 p.m. with the men’s game to follow at 3 p.m.