Grace picks up road win at SAU

SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Grace’s women’s basketball team picked up a critical late-season win on the road, beating Spring Arbor 71-65 on Wednesday.

Kyannah Stull led all players with 24 points, and Vironnica Drake stuffed the stat sheet with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists.

With 18 wins this season, the Lady Lancers (18-9, 9-6 Crossroads League) already have the fourth-most wins for a season in program history. Grace is well within reach of the all-time record of 20 victories.

Grace sits alone in fifth place in the league standings with three games remaining in the regular season.

Offense was hard to come by in the first quarter. The teams didn’t reach double figures until the final minute.

Stull converted a layup late in the period, but Grace was still tied 11-11 by the end of the quarter.

The Lady Lancers made just four of their 16 shots, including 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. Grace also turned the ball over six times — the same amount of turnovers the Cougars committed.

While the teams scored more in the second quarter, the score continued to remain deadlocked.

With three minutes to play in the half, Grace took advantage of SAU turnovers to score six straight points. Stull, Drake and Kamryn Hostetler scored in short succession for Grace.

The Lady Lancers went into halftime with a 28-25 advantage. Stull had 12 points before halftime to lead all players.

Grace was still unable to connect on a 3-pointer in the half (0-8), shooting 32 percent overall. The Lady Lancers forced the Cougars into 12 turnovers, however, to help their cause.

Spring Arbor came out of the locker room with an edge, scoring eight unanswered points thanks to a pair of 3-pointers.

Drake responded with four three throws to cut into SAU’s lead. Minutes later, Drake and Lexi Minix scored in the paint on back-to-back plays, putting Grace ahead 40-36 and forcing an SAU timeout.

In the last two minutes, Drake beat the shot clock buzzer with a desperation 3-pointer, and Stull beat the third quarter buzzer with a layup. Stull’s basket had the Lady Lancers leading 52-43 entering the fourth quarter.

The Cougars (7-19, 2-13 CL) were not fazed facing a nine-point deficit. SAU charged back into the game, and a 3-pointer slashed Grace’s lead down to 54-52.

Stull responded with driving scores on consecutive plays to give Grace breathing room, but the Cougars again stayed within range.

With two minutes remaining, Brooke Treadway and Minix made steals on two straight possessions. But Grace came up empty with a chance to ice the game.

SAU had the ball trailing by two with less than a minute to go. But the Cougars travelled and were forced to foul.

Drake sank both free throws with 24 seconds remaining, and Hostetler hit two more foul shots for the final six-point margin of victory.

Grace won the game despite making just two 3-pointers (15 percent). Grace averages 10 made 3-pointers per game and had not made fewer than five triples before Wednesday.

Hostetler finished the game with nine points, Treadway added four points and nine rebounds, and Minix chipped in five points and three steals.

The Lady Lancers are back at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center on Saturday, hosting No. 10 St. Francis at 1 p.m.