WINONA LAKE – Grace’s women’s basketball team let a golden opportunity slip through its fingers on Saturday, losing a second-half lead against No. 12 Cardinal Stritch.
The Lady Lancers (6-3) led by eight points at halftime, but a sloppy second-half performance doomed Grace’s upset bid by the score of 60-44 in the Bennigan’s Terry Polston Hoops for Hope.
Grace’s offense was slow to start the game, managing just two points over the first four minutes of play. But the team was about to spark to life, propelled by a stingy defense.
Grace rattled off a 15-1 run, aided by a trio of 3-pointers by Darian Patton, Kelsie Peterson and Gabby Bryant to go on top 17-7. The Wolves were held nearly seven minutes between made field goals during Grace’s charge.
Cardinal Stritch trimmed Grace’s lead to five with three minutes left in the half, but the Lady Lancers still held a 29-21 advantage at the break thanks to a late driving basket from Heather House.
Grace’s offensive woes began at the onset of the second half. The Lady Lancers were held to three points for the first 7:31 of the period. Cardinal Stritch’s defense continued to give Grace fits as the Wolves eventually built up a 10-point lead.
Kelsey Sule did her best to singlehandedly keep Grace in contention, scoring eight of Grace’s points in a row. But the Lady Lancers could not slow down the Wolves down the stretch. Cardinal Stritch outscored Grace 39-15 in the second half en route to the 16-point win.
Cardinal Stritch hit a sizzling 64 percent of its shots after halftime. Grace, on the other hand, made just five field goals and had 12 turnovers in the second half. The Lady Lancers struggled to a 28-percent shooting percentage over the final 20 minutes.
The Wolves held a dominant 33-18 advantage in rebounding and scored 40 of their 60 points in the paint. Cardinal Stritch also tallied 30 points off Grace’s 22 turnovers.
Sule led Grace with 12 points from the bench. Heather House and Allison Kauffman had seven points apiece, and Kelsie Peterson added six.
Grace opens the Crossroads League season on Tuesday with a road game at Taylor 7 p.m. Grace’s next home game is on Dec. 3 against Indiana Wesleyan.