INDIANAPOLIS - The No. 25-ranked Marian University women's basketball team was victimized by a 18-6 run over the final seven minutes as Grace College, which is receiving votes in the NAIA Division II Coaches' Poll, pulled out a come-from-behind 63-61 victory at the Physical Education Center on Wednesday night.
The Knights, who had a four-game winning stream snapped, fell to 17-7 overall and 9-6 in the Mid-Central College Conference, while Grace improved to 17-10 overall and 9-6 in the MCC. MU, Grace and Saint Francis (Ind.) are all in a three-way tie for third place in the conference with three games to go.
Nine different players scored for the Knights with junior Whitley Emerson
, the reigning MCC Player of the Week, hitting for a game-high 13 points. She also grabbed a game-high eight boards for the Knights. Freshman Faith Reece
poured in 11 points and also grabbed eight rebounds, while junior Adrienne Sahm
and senior Emily Smithson
each added seven points. Junior Natasha Marshall
added a game-high six assists, while junior Rachel Turk
added three blocks for the Knights.
The Knights carried a 32-22 lead into halftime after holding Grace to just 26 percent (8-for-31) from the field over the first 20 minutes. MU shot just 40 percent (12-for-30), but held a 24-19 rebounding edge at the interval.
The second half, however, was a much different story. The Knights were able to push the lead to 14 at 37-23 on an Emerson three-pointer with 19 minutes left in the game, but the Lancers went on an 11-0 run to cut the lead to just three, 37-34, with 14:50 remaining. MU answered with a 12-2 run of its own to regain a 12-point lead, 48-36, with 11:37 to go. They were able to hold the lead near 10 for the next 4:37 before the game completely changed.
The Knights would commit six turnovers and go 1-for-6 from the field over the final seven minutes as Grace went on an 18-6 run to complete the comeback 63-61 victory.
After a pair of free throws from Grace senior Hannah Lengel put the Lancers up three, 61-58, with 24 seconds to go, junior Natalie Robinson
buried a three-pointer with 13 seconds left to tie the score. Grace sophomore Juaneice Jackson drove the length of the floor and hit a short jumper with 4.8 seconds remaining to stake Grace the 63-61 lead. Sahm drove the length of the floor, but her 12-foot runner came off the front iron and gave the Lancers the vital MCC victory.
While the Knights out-rebounded the Lancers 41-33 for the game, Grace forced 14 second-half turnovers to the tune of 16 points en route to the win. MU shot 45 percent in the second half, but was only able to sink nine shots in the half as Grace hit 48 percent (14-for-29) of its shots in the second stanza.
The Knights will hit the road to take on Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Mount Vernon, Ohio on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m.