WINONA LAKE – The Grace College women’s basketball team returns to the home hardwood Wednesday night.
The Lancers will serve as host for the NCCAA National Championships, which begin Wednesday morning and run through Saturday night, in the Orthopaedic Capital Center.
Grace, making its fifth straight appearance in the NCCAA Tournament, takes a 19-14 mark into the eight-team event. Coach Scott Blum’s Lancers last played on March 2 as they lost an 80-46 decision at Cedarville University in the NCCAA Midwest Regional title game. Grace has lost five of its last six games entering the national tournament.
Grace, the No. 7 seed, opens tournament action Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. versus No. 2 seed California Baptist (23-5). Union University (20-8) is the top seed for the tournament.
The Lancers are led by standout guard Juaneice Jackson. The 5-7 junior from Gary earned first-team, All-Crossroads League honors this season as she broke the single-season school scoring mark. The smooth southpaw, who already ranks in the top 10 in career scoring in the Grace women’s program, drained a career and season high 37 points in a league game versus Taylor this season.
Grace, which has nine freshman on its roster, will also rely on sophomore Allison Kauffman as a key player in the tournament. The 6-0 forward from Fort Wayne averaged 12.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during the regular season. Kauffman was an honorable mention, all-conference selection.
The tournament will mark the final home games for Grace seniors Rianne Aguilar from Marion, Jayla Starks from Fort Wayne and Emily Bidwell, a native of Pierceton who played at Whitko High School.
Following are the tournament pairings. The championship game is scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m.
Game 1: 8:30 a.m.: Southern Nazarene (18-10) vs. Shorter University (17-11)
Game 2: 10:15 a.m.: Cedarville University (18-9) vs. Oklahoma Christian (19-11)
Game 3: 3:30 p.m.: Union University (20-8) vs. Roberts Wesleyan (15-12)
Game 4: 7:30 p.m.: California Baptist (23-5) vs. Grace College (19-14)
Game 5: 12 p.m.: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 3
Game 6: 1:45 p.m.: Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 4
Game 7: 7 p.m.: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 3
Game 8: 8:45 p.m.: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 4
Game 9: 1 p.m.: Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6
Game 10: 5 p.m.: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6
Game 11: 12 p.m.: Loser Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8
Game 12: 5 p.m.: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8 (Championship Game)