WINONA LAKE – Grace’s women’s basketball team enjoyed a 73-52 victory over Cincinnati Christian on Tuesday to kick off the 2019-20 season.
The Lady Lancers (1-0) used a relentless defensive effort in the win. The Eagles (0-1) were forced into 24 turnovers, and a career-high 27 points from Kyannah Stull propelled Grace at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.
Grace’s defense was swarming from the onset, and CCU never seemed to find its comfort zone in the first half.
The Lady Lancers raced off to the lead in the first quarter, sparked by eight points and a pair of 3-pointers from Stull. A triple in the final seconds from Vironnica Drake gave Grace a 20-7 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
The Lady Lancers continued to mute the Eagles in the second quarter. CCU did not make a field goal in the period until 1:03 left in the half.
By the time the Eagles made a shot in the second quarter, Grace had opened up a commanding 35-9 edge.
Grace went into halftime comfortably ahead, 35-11. Drake had 10 points in the half to nearly outscore CCU, and Stull added nine points.
The Lady Lancers held the Eagles to 16 percent shooting in the half. CCU also turned the ball over 17 times before halftime. Grace, on the other hand, shot 39 percent overall and 44 percent on 3-pointers.
Grace also got to the free throw line early and often, going 11-of-15 in the first half while the Eagles shot just four foul shots.
The Eagles refused to fade and made a strong charge in the third quarter. After scoring 11 points in the entire first half, CCU ripped off 26 points in the third period.
A last-second 3-pointer from the Eagles hit the back of the rim and fell through the net, capping off a big quarter by CCU. Grace’s lead dwindled to 47-37 after that triple.
The Eagles’ momentum continued with another 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter, and the Eagles trimmed the deficit down to seven.
Grace turned to Stull in the final quarter, and the junior delivered. Stull scored nine points over a four-minute span, the last of which was a steal and fastbreak layup which forced a CCU timeout.
Not long after, Stull buried another 3-point for a 22-point lead, all but ending the contest. Grace cruised to the final 21-point margin of victory.
Stull scored 15 of her 27 points in the fourth quarter. She shot 9-of-15 overall, 5-of-7 from the 3-point line and 4-of-5 from the foul line.
Drake recorded 18 points, 5 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals, and Kaylie Warble just missed a double-double with eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Kamryn Hostetler finished with five points and six assists, and Brooke Treadway chipped in with four points and eight boards.
Mackenzie Pulley tallied 3 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in her collegiate debut, and fellow freshman Maddie Ryman had 4 points, 2 steals and 1 assist in her debut.
“I love how we started in first half and really how we played in three of the four quarters. We maintained our intensity throughout the first half,” said Grace head coach Dan Davis. “We lost our focus in the third quarter, but give the girls credit. We figured it out and played another solid quarter in the fourth. It’s great to get the first victory of the year.”
The Lady Lancers remain at home Saturday with a 1 p.m. matchup against Cornerstone.