WINONA LAKE – Senior Day was spoiled for the Grace College women’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon in a 67-58 Crossroads League defeat to Spring Arbor.
The seniors for the Lady Lancers (14-14, 9-7 Crossroads League) enjoyed a solid day with 38 of the team’s 58 points, but Grace was unable to garner enough contribution from the rest of the team in a nine-point loss.
One poor quarter proved to be the downfall for Grace in the second half, and the Cougars (13-15, 4-12 CL) refused to let Grace back within striking distance.
Grace still secured a top-four finish in the league after the rest of Saturday’s games, meaning Grace will host a first round matchup in the Crossroads League Tournament.
Chloe Pridgen had her best game in a Grace uniform, pouring in a career-high 18 points on 9-of-14 shooting while adding nine rebounds. Her senior teammates Haley Richardson (10 points, four rebounds) and Darian Patton (10 points, seven boards, four assists) also had impressive games.
In the first half, the Cougars’ defensive intensity caused Grace issues in ball control. The Lady Lancers did take advantage of Spring Arbor in the post, however, bullying Spring Arbor into 26 points in the paint.
Pridgen excelled in the first half, hitting all five of her shots for 10 points. Grace, who started all four seniors on Senior Day, produced its first 10 points of the game from seniors.
The Cougars still managed to hold a slight edge for much of the first half and led 18-16 after one quarter.
The second quarter produced much of the same. Spring Arbor scored in the final seconds of the half to go ahead 35-33.
Grace struggled with ball control in the first half, committing 10 turnovers. But the Lady Lancers made up the deficit by shooting a blistering 58 percent from the floor.
To start the second half, Pridgen scored Grace’s first six points. Spring Arbor began to pull ahead, however, as Grace struggled to find offense outside of Pridgen.
The Cougars outscored Grace 18-9 in the third quarter to grab a commanding 53-42 lead.
Vironnica Drake gave Grace a spark to start the fourth quarter. The freshman guard scored the first five points of the quarter, including a 3-pointer, to cut Spring Arbor’s margin down to five. That would prove to be the closest Grace could get to the Cougars.
Spring Arbor answered with five points of its own—all after turnovers by Grace—to reassert a 10-point cushion. Grace was unable to put together a dangerous rally over the final four minutes.
The Cougars held Grace to 23 percent shooting after halftime, including 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. Grace shot 65 percent from the foul line for the game.
Grace outrebounded Spring Arbor 37-29 overall but also committed 16 turnovers.
Pam Miller scored seven points with five boards, Drake finished with six points, and Kelsie Peterson scored five.
The Lady Lancers wrap up the regular season next week. Grace will host St. Francis on Wednesday at 6 p.m. and travel to Taylor on Saturday.