FORT WAYNE – A sluggish first half of offense for the Grace College women’s basketball team resulted in a 59-51 loss to St. Francis on Wednesday night.
The Lady Lancers (8-9, 3-2 Crossroads League) made a furious push in the fourth quarter, but Grace was unable to fully recover from a meager first half of action.
Grace’s struggles were starkly evident in the first quarter. The Lady Lancers only managed four points in the period, all scored in the final 2:30.
Remarkably, the score was tied at one point 4-4 with 1:57 on the clock as both offenses struggled. But the Cougars (8-9, 3-2 CL) ended the quarter with seven straight points to take an 11-4 lead.
The Lady Lancers only scored 10 more in the second quarter, allowing USF to open up a comfortable 29-14 lead at halftime.
Grace shot 6-of-32 from the floor (19 percent) in the first half and made just one of its nine attempts from beyond the arc.
USF maintained a cushion in the third quarter; Grace still faced a 48-33 deficit entering the final stanza.
Broghan Gamble gave Grace a spark to start the fourth quarter, scoring four points to help trim the Cougars’ lead down to 50-39 with 6:16 on the clock.
With less than two minutes remaining, Kelsie Peterson buried a triple and Darian Patton scored to chop the Cougars’ lead down to seven. But that proved to be the closest Grace would get in the final frantic minutes.
The trio of Haley Richardson, Vironnica Drake and Patton all scored nine points to lead Grace’s offense. Richardson grabbed a game-high six boards, Drake had three assists, and Patton had three steals.
Lauren Godfrey tallied seven points off the bench, and Peterson added six points and four rebounds.
The Cougars, winners of three straight games, snapped Grace’s three-game winning streak in league play.
The Lady Lancers will return home on Saturday for a doubleheader with the men’s team against Goshen. The women’s game starts at 1 p.m. Saturday will also be DePuy-Synthes Day, allowing free admission to all DePuy-Synthes’s employees and their immediate family members to the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.