WINONA LAKE – The Grace College women’s basketball team pulled away late in a 63-55 victory over Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday night.
The Lady Lancers (6-5, 1-1 Crossroads League) survived a 19-turnover performance thanks to their energy on the defensive end.
MVNU was stifled into shooting 35 percent from the floor, including just 4-for-16 from beyond the arc.
Grace’s best quarter was the opener. The Lady Lancers ripped off 20 points in the first quarter to earn a 20-15 advantage.
Kelsie Peterson gave Grace a spark with nine points in the frame, hitting all four of her field goals.
Offense was hard to come by for both sides in the second quarter. Grace was held to just eight points, but the Cougars (3-6, 0-2 CL) only scored two more.
The Lady Lancers went into halftime ahead 28-25. Grace shot a sizzling 50 percent from the floor but committed 11 turnovers.
MVNU opened the third quarter with a quick spurt, grabbing a 31-30 lead.
The teams traded baskets to end the third quarter. A late 3-pointer from Darian Patton in the corner gave Grace a 42-41 advantage to end the period.
The fourth quarter belonged to Grace, specifically Vironnica Drake. The freshman accounted for 15 of Grace’s 21 points in the final stanza.
Drake ripped off nine quick points to start the fourth quarter, helping Grace ease out to a 55-47 cushion with 4:41 on the clock.
MVNU did its best to battle back, trimming Grace’s gap to four on three different occasions. But Drake had the answer each time from the free throw line; Drake was a perfect 10-for-10 from the foul line in the quarter to ice the win for Grace.
Drake tied for scoring honors with 19 points. Haley Richardson produced 13 points, 6 boards and 2 steals, and Peterson finished with 13 points and five rebounds.
Patton tallied a balanced scoreline of 5 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals, and Brooke Sugg added four points and three boards.
The Lady Lancers will continue league play on Saturday when they host a doubleheader against archrival Bethel. The women’s game will start at 1 p.m. with the men’s to follow at 3 p.m. at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.