Grace College seniors Greg Miller and Juaneice Jackson will lead the Lancers and Lady Lancers into the NCCAA National Championships. First-round action begins Wednesday in Winona Lake. Photo provided by Grace College
Grace College seniors Greg Miller and Juaneice Jackson will lead the Lancers and Lady Lancers into the NCCAA National Championships. First-round action begins Wednesday in Winona Lake. Photo provided by Grace College
WINONA LAKE – The brackets have been set and the opponents drawn for Grace College’s men’s and women’s basketball teams at this week’s NCCAA National Championships.
The Lancers and Lady Lancers – playing together at the NCCAA Nationals for the first time – tip off on Wednesday night at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center. The eighth-seeded Lady Lancers will face top-seeded Lee University (Tenn.) at 5:15 p.m. The men’s team (No. 7 seed) will play No. 2 Colorado Christian University at 7:30 p.m.
The 2014 men’s and women’s tournament field is loaded with talent from NCAA Div. II, NCCAA and NAIA levels. Teams have come to the Warsaw/Winona Lake community from as far as New York, California, South Carolina and Oklahoma.
The tournament, which runs from Wednesday to Saturday, features eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams. Each team is guaranteed to play three games.
The Lady Lancers’ first-round opponent, Lee, was last year’s NAIA Div. I national runner-up. The high-scoring Flames are led by Hollie German, who has scored more than 2,000 points in her career. Lee averages 70 points per game and outscores its opponents by more than 10 points per game.
Juaneice Jackson headlines Grace’s women’s team, which is coming off its best Crossroads League season (12-6) in program history. Jackson became Grace’s all-time leading scorer in January and leads the Lady Lancers with 18.3 points, 2.7 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
In the men’s bracket, Grace will square off with Colorado Christian, winners of six of its past nine games. The Cougars average 85 points per game, but also give up 82 points per game defensively. Colorado Christian averages 10 made 3-pointers per game, hitting 40 percent as a team from beyond the arc.
Between the NCCAA and the NAIA Division II tournaments, the Lancers are enjoying an eighth consecutive national tournament appearance. After losing their first five league games this season, the Lancers recovered to win eight of their final 13 contests. Grace nearly won the league tournament as the No. 6 seed, coming up five points short to rival Bethel in the championship game.
Senior Greg Miller paces the Lancers offensively, averaging 17.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Logan Irwin (13.1 ppg) and Niko Read (11.0) also average double-digit scoring.