GOSHEN, Ind. – Freshman Jaime Stack (Goshen, Ind./ Fairfield HS) registered her first career double-double, but it was not enough for the Goshen College women's basketball team to pull off an upset as #16 Grace College walked out of Gunden Gymnasium with a 67-46 victory Thursday night.
Both teams shot poorly from behind the arc (9% for Goshen, 18% for Grace) and while the Lancers had a small 41 to 39% shooting advantage overall, the real difference in the game was turnovers and offensive rebounds. Grace finished with 19 more shot attempts overall after forcing 24 Maple Leaf turnovers and grabbing 12 rebounds on the offensive glass.
"We continue to battle teams hard on the glass every night and our defense has been improving," first-year head coach Stephanie Miller explained. "I thought we challenged them for a good portion of the game until we coughed up the ball way too many times. When you give an elite team that many more chances, you are just putting yourself in a big hole."
Goshen held brief leads at 4-3 and 8-7, but a six-minute long 12-2 spurt by the Lancers opened up their first double-digit lead (21-10). An attacking mentality of Maple Leaf guard Avery Bischoff and Kaylee Hilliker saw them constantly get in the lane and hit three-straight tough inside baskets to trim the gap to seven late in the half, but a 3-pointer by Juaneice Jackson just before the halftime buzzer stretched it back to 11 (33-22) at the break.
The Leafs out shot the Lancers 42% to 39% in the period, but turnovers and offensive put backs were the difference. Giving up several inches at most spots – Grace has six players on the roster at 6-foot or taller to none for Goshen – the Leafs battled hard underneath to only be out rebounded by one overall, but it was the second chances which haunted them.
The visitors scored the first five points of the second half and quickly went up by 16. An 8-0 Maple Leaf spurt, with four freshman on the floor, however, trimmed the deficit back to single digits.
"We went on a nice little run to close the gap and get back in striking distance," Miller explained. "All four of our freshman were a part of that spurt which was very encouraging to see. Avery came in tonight and game us good minutes. She has been coming along very well in the last month or so and we really like her up side."
Everytime Goshen began to rally, Grace had an answer. This time it was an 11-0 run which included six-straight points by Hayley Cashier. Junior Jenna Rusmisel hit a 3-pointer to stop the bleeding, but the gap was too much overcome in the limited time remaining.
Stack finished with 13 points (nine in the second half) to go with 10 rebounds for the double-double, while classmate Sierria Burlage (Columbia City, Ind.) added eight points and eight rebounds. Danielle Boykin led Grace with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while Kiera Gray added 11.
"I was happy for Jaime to see her grab that first double-double, she has been flirting with it for several games now and plays so hard that she deserves it," Miller continued. "I still feel as though our team continues to improve and make forward progress. We have not only learned a lot from some of these tough teams, but we have also toughened up mentally throughout the stretch as well."
Things do not get any easier for Goshen (3-14, 0-5 MCC) as they play host to NAIA DII #1 Indiana Wesleyan University (16-1, 5-0 MCC) at 1 p.m. on Saturday.