Pictured is Kiersten Findley and Grace's bench celebrating Kate Schlatter's score.
Pictured is Kiersten Findley and Grace's bench celebrating Kate Schlatter's score.
WINONA LAKE - Grace College’s women’s basketball team capped off a historic season with a 78-64 victory over Alice Lloyd in the third place game of the NCCAA National Tournament.

The Lady Lancers third place finish in the tournament matches its best placement ever.

“I am so proud of these ladies,” said Grace head coach Dan Davis. “I don't think people realize how tough this game was for us after coming off a real tough defeat. For our ladies to come out the way they did and win this game shows to everyone else what I already know. They are a group that is all in for each other and this program. Every single one of them is full of integrity and grit.”

Grace began the game well, scoring the first seven points of the contest. Maddie Ryman was responsible for five of those points with a 3-pointer and a floater in the lane. Alice Lloyd called timeout to slow Grace’s early charge.

The Lady Lancers pushed their edge to 12-2 as Ryman hit another triple.

The Lady Lancers defended fiercely and scored quickly in the first half. Before seven minutes had expired, Grace charged ahead 19-4 after a fastbreak triple in the corner from Molly Long.

At the end of the first quarter, Grace led 23-10. Ryman outscored the Eagles by herself in the half with 12 points compared to ALC’s 10.

The Eagles tried to get back on track in the second quarter; ALC hit a trio of triples to pull within nine, but Grace’s offense could not be slowed.

The Lady Lancers rolled into halftime with a 42-29 lead. Ryman tallied 18 first-half points to pace Grace.

In the third quarter, Ryman picked up right where she left off. The guard canned two triples in the first five minutes as Grace maintained a comfortable margin.

The Eagles struggled to break into the Lady Lancers’ cushion, trailing by double digits for the entirety of the third quarter.

ALC did its best to make a fourth-quarter push. An early triple for the Eagles helped cut Grace’s lead back down the single digits with 6:14 left.

A pair of scores from Ryman and Karlee Feldman followed by a trifecta from Peyton Murphy gave the Lady Lancers a stranglehold on the game at 72-58.

The exclamation point was put on the victory in the final seconds. Kaylee Patton found teammate Kate Schlatter on a full court pass. The senior guard then spun away from a closing Eagle player and finished with a layup, to close out her final game in a Grace uniform with a 78-64 victory.

“Hats off to my ladies for finishing off the best season in program history, I am so proud of what they have accomplished over the last 35 games.” Davis added. “They continue to raise the bar of what will be expected of this program year in and year out.”

Grace shot 48 percent from the floor compared to ALC’s 34 percent. The Lady Lancers also shot 50 percent (9-18) from 3-point territory. Grace did not trail in the game.

Ryman finished the game with 30 points and connected on six 3-point shots. With her 30-point performance, Ryman moved into third in Grace’s all-time scoring list. Her career total of 1,785 surpassed Allison Kaufman’s career total of 1,784.

Findley also topped double-digits with 11 points. Patton had six points and seven rebounds.

Feldman had another double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. It was Feldman’s 22nd double-double of the season, which ties her program record from last year for the most in a single season.

Grace finishes the season with new program bests for wins (24), regular season wins (19), conference wins (13) and longest win (streak seven games).

The Lady Lancers also qualified for and won their first ever NAIA Tournament game this season.