WINONA LAKE – On a night where Allison Kauffman registered her 1,000th career point, the senior forward scored 20 points to lift the Grace College women’s basketball team to a 78-68 win over Marian on Wednesday.
With the win, the Lady Lancers (14-13; 10-5 Crossroads League) secured a top-four finish in the Crossroads League. They will host a first-round game in the CL Tournament for the first time in program history. Additionally, Grace has now tied the 2011-12 Lady Lancers for most league victories in a season.
Grace earned the first sizeable lead of the opening half with six minutes remaining. The Lady Lancers used a 12-2 run, bookended by 3-pointers from Juaneice Jackson, to go ahead by seven. Dariyan Morris also had four points during that run.
Kauffman scored the last points of the half as her scoop shot rolled into the net as the horn sounded, giving Grace a 36-31 lead.
Marian briefly went on top 45-43 after five minutes of the second half, but Kelsey Sule swung momentum back to Grace in just two short minutes. The sophomore guard drained a trio of 3-pointers to break the Knights’ zone defense, giving Grace a double-digit advantage.
A cold streak hit the Lady Lancers with eight minutes to play, however. Grace was scoreless for nearly four minutes as Marian’s 10-0 run trimmed the deficit to 64-62 with 3:34 on the clock.
Kauffman broke Grace’s drought with a 3-pointer from the right wing, and the Lady Lancers never looked back. Grace sank seven free throws in the final 2:00 to hold off any further Knights’ run.
Kauffman passed the century mark with a 3-pointer in the first half. She became the 16th member of Grace’s 1,000-point club and the ninth Lady Lancer to register 1,000 career points and 500 rebounds.
Juaneice Jackson finished with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, to go along with three steals. Dariyan Morris tallied 11 points off the bench, and Kesley Sule added nine points in nine minutes.
Lindsey Schaefer produced nine points and 10 boards, Gabby Bryant had seven points and four assists, and Darian Patton registered five points, six boards and three assists.
Marian was held to 39 percent shooting from the floor.
The Lady Lancers’ last home game of the regular season is on Saturday when they host No. 21 Huntington at 1 p.m. Grace will celebrate “Senior Day” on Saturday to honor the program’s all-time leading scorer Juaneice Jackson.