WINONA LAKE – The Grace College women’s basketball team turned to defense to continue its strong start to the season with a 68-44 victory over Rochester College on Friday in the KCCCF Optimist Classic.
The Lady Lancers (5-1) were consistently pesky on the defensive end of the floor, recording 16 steals and forcing 25 turnovers from the Warriors.
Grace proved to be lethal from beyond the arc in the opening minutes of the game. The Lady Lancers drilled four 3-pointers in the first six minutes of action against Rochester’s zone, taking a 17-5 lead in the process.
The Lady Lancers’ defense was swarming throughout the opening half as they nabbed 10 steals against the Warriors (3-3). Jayla Starks was responsible for five steals in 14 minutes of action in the first half.
Grace built a double-digit lead on the strength of their defense and 3-point shooting and entered the halftime break ahead 32-22.
Rochester charged back to start the second half, draining a trio of 3-pointers to slice Grace’s lead to three at 36-33. But the Lady Lancers responded with defensive tenacity.
The Warriors could only manage to score 11 points in the final 15 minutes of action as the Lady Lancers coasted away for the 24-point victory.
Freshman Sarah Feasby was instrumental in Grace’s second-half run as she scored 10 points in a row for the Lady Lancers. Overall, Feasby made all three of her field goal attempts and grabbed five rebounds in 10 minutes of action.
Allison Kauffman led all players with 15 points to go along with eight rebounds. Juaneice Jackson also reached double-digit scoring with 13 points on 3-for-3 shooting from the 3-point line.
Gabby Bryant hit a pair of 3-pointers to go along with 5 assists, 2 steals and 0 turnovers, and Jayla Starks finished with 7 points, 8 boards, 3 assists and 5 steals.
Rochester attempted 32 shots from the 3-point line but could only connect on 22 percent of their treys. Overall, Grace made 39 percent of their field goals compared to 25 percent for Rochester.
The Lady Lancers will conclude the KCCCF Optimist Classic from the Orthopaedic Capital Center on Saturday with a game against No. 24 Union (Ky.) at 2 p.m.