WINONA LAKE, Ind. (WANE) – On Wednesday evening, the University of Saint Francis Lady Cougars (5-4; 2-1 Crossroads) traveled to Winona Lake, Indiana to face the Grace College Lancers (5-4; 0-3 Crossroads) and behind a 20-point first quarter prevailed 66-53.
The Lady Cougars set the tone right at the start. Through the first two minutes neither team made a dent in the scoreboard until senior guard Sidney Crowe made the first free throw and point of the game 2:45 into the game.
Saint Francis extended the lead to 8-0 before the Lancers got on the board with a couple free throws. Then the Lady Cougars spent the remainder of the frame playing solid defense and not allowing the Lancers an open shot meanwhile the offense could do no wrong, outscoring Grace 20-3 in the first quarter.
Though the Lancers didn’t get discouraged as they began to find some momentum on offense and began matching the Lady Cougars point-for-point. During the frame, Saint Francis made several turnovers and were outscore by Grace 16-10 in the frame, though they still led 30-19 going to halftime.
Heading into the third quarter, the Lady Cougars got their offense back and running. Seven unanswered points to open the frame put Saint Francis back ahead by 17 points.
However, during the middle part of the frame, the Lancers found momentum on offense and went on a run to close the gap to within five points with a minute left, but a couple layups by junior forward Cassidy Crawford and junior forward Aubrey Dunnuck put the Lady Cougars back up 51-42 heading into the fourth quarter.
Although they were outscored in the last two quarters, the Lady Cougars still held steady despite a late surge by the Lancers.
Grace went on to close to within five points on a couple occasions in the final frame, but the Lady Cougars were able to answer back each time, make the free throws when they needed to, and went on to victory.
“I thought we did a great job in the first quarter of coming out and playing physical,” Head Coach Jason Ridge said. “The physicality kind of set the tone for the game but it also set us up for some foul trouble in the second quarter. Our first quarter defense was some of the best defense we’ve played all year and I thought we were really strong in the fourth quarter as well.”
Throughout the game, the Lady Cougars shot 55 percent from the floor, 50 percent from beyond the three-point line, and 58 percent from the free throw line. Cassidy Crawford led the team in scoring with 20 points and seven rebounds, while junior forward Meleah Kunkel also had seven rebounds, and sophomore guard Reganne Pate scored 14 points.
The Lady Cougars resume play on Saturday afternoon when they return home to Hutzell Athletic Center and face the No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan University Wildcats (7-2; 1-1 Crossroads) beginning at 1:00 pm.