Cold spells undo Grace on the road

MARION, Ind. – Grace’s women’s basketball team was unable to produce a fluid offensive game, resulting in a 79-69 defeat at No. 17 Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers were ice cold to start three of the four quarters, and the Wildcats (22-7, 13-4 Crossroads League) grabbed the lead and hung on late.

Vironnica Drake led Grace with 22 points and six rebounds, and Kyannah Stull added 20 points.

Grace started each quarter slowly in the first half. The Lady Lancers (18-11, 9-8 CL) needed four minutes to get on the scoreboard at the beginning of the contest.

IWU took advantage to lead 9-0; Stull finally broke Grace’s drought with an and-1.

Drake and Micaela Box combined to score the next 11 points for the Lady Lancers, helping Grace quickly bridge the gap to 15-14.

Grace went scoreless for the final three possessions, and IWU led 17-14 after one quarter.

Unfortunately for the visitors, the Lady Lancers started the second quarter even worse. Grace needed almost five minutes to score in the period.

Grace missed its first seven shots in the second quarter and committed three turnovers. IWU responded with 13 straight points to open up a 30-13 lead.

This time, Grace was unable to bridge the gap in the stanza and had to settle for a 43-27 deficit at halftime.

Grace struggled to shoot 30 percent in the first half, including 23 percent from beyond the arc. The Wildcats made 47 percent of their field goals. The Lady Lancers also amassed 12 turnovers before halftime.

Stull’s 11 points and Drake’s nine points combined for 20 of the team’s 27 points.

Grace began the third quarter with energy, producing an 11-4 run to spark the team. Drake converted a driving and-1 to chop the Wildcats’ lead down to 47-38, forcing a timeout by IWU.

Shortly after, Maddie Ryman drilled a pull-up triple followed by two free throws to trail by just four at 49-45.

The Wildcats made a desperation 3-pointer as the third quarter expired, getting breathing room at 54-47.

The fourth quarter told a familiar story. Drake scored on Grace’s first possession, but the Lady Lancers went cold for the next four minutes.

IWU built its cushion up to 13, and Grace trailed by double figures for the rest of the way.

Box tried to give Grace a boost late, making a trio of 3-pointers to keep the Lady Lancers in contention. But the damage was already done.

Box tied a season high with 15 points while shooting 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, Brooke Treadway tallied five rebounds and three steals, and Ryman chipped in eight points and two steals.

Grace shot 35 percent as a team compared to 51 percent for IWU, and the Lady Lancers made 28 percent (8-of-29) on 3-point tries.

The Lady Lancers end the regular season on Saturday at home. Grace will play Mt. Vernon Nazarene at 1 p.m. at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Grace will finish either fifth or sixth in the league standings as a result of Saturday’s games.