GOSHEN, Ind. – Despite a big afternoon from freshman Jo'Mani Thomas, the Goshen College women's basketball team could not stop visiting Grace College, falling to the Lancers 78-69 on Saturday.
"This was a performance that I, and the team, can be proud of and use as a measuring stick for games to come," head coach Stephanie Miller explained. "We had not played well as a team very often in the past several weeks, but the last three halves (second half at Marian and today's game), we showed some guts, real heart, and much more team unity."
Things started off poorly for Goshen as the visitors scored the first eight points of the game to put them in a quick hole. Eight minutes in, the Leafs deficit was even bigger as they hit just one field goal and trailed 18-2.
Goshen found its footing, though, and cut the gap to 36-25 by halftime. Their run continued in the second half, getting to a single-digit disadvantage within 30 seconds and then used an 8-2 run to get within three (51-48) with just under 10 minutes to play.
That would be as close as they would get, however. Goshen out rebounded Grace 41-35, but turned the ball over 30 times.
"We shared the ball much better today and we won some key hustle stats which allowed us to get back into the game (like the glass)," Miller said. "Not being able to finish shots in the first 10 minutes was compounded with way too many careless turnovers were the difference in the game. To give Grace credit, when we closed the game late, they hit a couple big-time shots under pressure to give them the cushion they needed."
Thomas hit 8-of-12 from the field for 23 points, while also grabbing a team-high nine rebounds. Classmate Liz Tecca had 12 points, while sophomore Jaime Stack had nine and Megan Strock and Sam Hawk each scored eight.
"Jo'Mani played with great energy and had an excellent overall game," Miller continued. "When she really gets going, she can be so hard to defend and really puts pressure on the opposing team's defense. Liz, also a freshman, has done a great job showing growth. We ask a lot of her, it can be pretty intimidating to try and control a team at the point. She has come a long way and is really starting to hit her stride."
They also could not slow the Lancers' Juaneice Jackson who scored on a game-high 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Allison Kauffman (16), Gabby Bryant (12), and Jayla Starks (10) all were in double figures as Grace's starting lineup accounted for 64 of their 78 points.
The Maple Leafs (2-15, 0-5 CL) have a three-game conference week as they travel to #2 Indiana Wesleyan Tuesday, host #23 Huntington Thursday and then travel to Spring Arbor Saturday.