MCPHERSON, KANSAS: After beating Central Christian in the first round of their regional tournament, the Grace University women's basketball team faced the Mid-America Christian University Evangels on Thursday, March 8. Despite finding themselves down by 15 early in the game, the Royals were only down by 4, 32-36, at halftime. By the end of the game, however, the Evangels has extended their lead to 67-83 to win the game. With the loss, the Royals' season is over; they ended the season with a 17-14 record overall.
The Royals struggled in the opening minutes of the game and found themselves down 11-2 after four minutes of play. With two minutes left in the first quarter, the Royals were down 5-20; they trimmed the Evangels' lead down to 11-22 by the end of the first. The Royals outscored the Evangels 7-2 in the first five minutes of the second quarter, bringing the score to 18-24. The Evangels rallied to increase their lead back to 12 points at 24-36 with two minutes left in the half only for the Royals to respond with an 8-0 run to close the half. The halftime score was 32-36.
The Royals fell further behind as the Evangels opened the half with an 11-0 run to bring the score to 32-47. The Evangels continued to build up their lead and lead 34-54 with just over five minutes left in the quarter, but the Royals responded with a 16-0 run to bring it back to a 4-point game at 50-54 with a minute and a half left in the quarter. Two quick buckets from the Evangels made it a ten-point game, 50-60, by the end of the third. The Evangels outscored the Royals 15-3 in the first five minutes of the fourth, and they gained their biggest lead of the game, 56-79, with four minutes left in the game. The Royals outscored the Evangels 11-4 in the last four minutes of the game, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Evangels' lead. The final score was 67-83.
The Royals shot 32.8 % from the field (21 of 64), 33.3% from the 3-point line (11 of 33), and 82.4% from the free throw line (14 of 17). The Evangels shot 42% from the field (34 of 81), 22.2% from the 3-point line (6 of 27), and 90% from the free throw line (9 of 10). The Royals had 19 points off turnovers, 11 second-chance points, 28 points in the paint, and 8 bench points, while the Evangels has 27 points off turnovers, 23 second-chance points, 59 points in the paint, and 21 bench points. The Royals had 37 rebounds, 9 assists, and 7 steals to the Evangels' 54 rebounds, 15 assists, and 12 steals.
Alyssa Strickland led the Royals in scoring with a career-high 20 points; she also grabbed 5 rebounds. Darielle Evans had 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Karen Orozco had 12 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Marisa Brown contributed 9 points and 5 rebounds, while Tschida Johnson had 4 points and 10 rebounds. Majesty Pelletier contributed 8 points on 8 of 8 free throws.
Four of the Evangels scored in double digits, led by Ossyana Ozoani with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Alexis Shannon had 16 points, Nevada Denton had 15 points, and Jennah Coffman had 13 points.
This game concluded the women's basketball season. They finished with a 17-14 record, the most wins the team has seen since the 2008-09 season. This was also the first time that Grace's women's basketball team made it to the regional tournament since Grace University moved to NCCAA Division 1 in 2014.
By Loretta Gamboe, SID Staff