WINONA LAKE – One slow quarter for Grace’s women’s basketball team resulted in a 79-68 loss to St. Francis on Wednesday.
The defeat means the Lady Lancers (14-15, 9-8 Crossroads League) slip to fourth place in the league standings with one game to play. The Lady Lancers will wrap up the season on Saturday at Taylor at 1 p.m.
As a result of the other games on Wednesday, Grace locked up the No. 4 seed in next week’s league tournament. The Lady Lancers will host a quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Darian Patton scored a career-high 22 points in the loss, adding seven rebounds and three assists in a strong performance.
Grace outscored St. Francis in three out of the four quarters, but the second quarter proved fatal to the Lady Lancers at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.
Grace’s defense impressed in the first quarter. The Cougars were held to just 10 points.
Vironnica Drake gave Grace a spark at the start, scoring seven points in the opening period as the Lady Lancers led 16-10.
As good as Grace’s defense was in the first quarter, things deteriorated dramatically in the second quarter.
St. Francis erupted for 29 points in the 10-minute session, scoring on 12 possessions. The Cougars started the quarter with eight points in the first 2:27 and never looked back.
Grace, on the other hand, struggled to score seven points in the period and trailed 39-23 at halftime after the Cougars converted an and-1 in the last second.
The Lady Lancers showed signs of life after halftime. Darian Patton hit a 3-pointer on the first possession, and Grace scored on the next two possessions to trim the Cougars’ lead to 11.
St. Francis recovered, however, and climbed ahead by 17 points late in the quarter. Grace scored the last four points of the period thanks to offensive rebounds, but the Cougars still led 52-39 entering the last quarter.
Patton and Lauren Godfrey did their best to start a comeback in the final 10 minutes. Patton scored 14 points in the quarter, and Godfrey added 10 more.
Seven straight points from Godfrey and Patton pulled the Lady Lancers to within 10 at 58-48 with 6:50 remaining. But the Cougars countered by upping their cushion back up to 16 with 3:36 on the clock.
Grace managed to slice St. Francis’s margin down to eight after a 3-pointer from Godfrey, but it was too late as time expired on Grace’s comeback bid.
Godfrey added 13 points and three steals, hitting a trio of 3-pointers, and Drake recorded her first collegiate double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.
Chloe Pridgen tallied six points and seven boards, and Hannah Adams chipped in five points and five rebounds.