HAMMOND, Ind. – The Grace College women’s basketball team could not maintain a first-half lead against No. 11 Purdue Calumet on Wednesday night, losing 83-73 on New Year’s Eve.
For the third time in four games, Allison Kauffman was the lone Lady Lancer to score in double figures as she poured in 22 points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Lancers (7-8) surprised the NAIA 11th-ranked Peregrines (12-2) in the first half, jumping out to an early lead. Kauffman scored the first four points of the game, and a 3-pointer from Kelsie Peterson and a basket from Darian Patton put Grace ahead by nine at 16-7. Peterson scored again a minute later as Grace held an 18-10 lead, but the Peregrines were about to make their move.
Purdue Calumet exploded for 27 points over the next 8:11 of action, draining five 3-pointers and six free throws to turn an eight-point deficit into a 10-point lead. Grace never came closer than five points for the rest of the contest.
The Peregrines led 46-38 at the break after shooting 52 percent for the half.
Grace fell behind its largest margin of the game at 65-50 with 11:22 remaining. The Lady Lancers made a defensive stand to get back into contention, limiting Purdue Calumet to just three points over the next five minutes. As a result, Grace chopped the Peregrines’ cushion to 68-61 with over six minutes left to play. But the Peregrines coasted to the buzzer for their final 10-point margin of victory.
The Lady Lancers had two more rebounds, two more turnovers and shot a similar percentage to the Peregrines for the game. Purdue Calumet had a distinct advantage at the free throw line, taking 34 attempts compared to just 14 free throws for Grace.
Gabby Bryant finished with eight points and five rebounds, Patton added eight points and Peterson scored seven. Chloe Pridgen scored eight points with seven rebounds in just five minutes off the bench, and Hannah Adams had five points with a 3-pointer.
Cassidy Deno led all players with a career-high 33 points for Purdue Calumet.
Wednesday’s game was the final non-league contest of the season for Grace. The Lady Lancers will conclude the regular season with 15 straight Crossroads League games. Grace is currently 0-3 in league play and will look for its first CL victory of the season on Saturday at rival Bethel at 1 p.m.