In matchup featuring two top 20 teams in the NAIA DII, the No.8 Bethel College Lady Pilots lost to the No. 16 Grace College Lancers 67-61 Tuesday night at the Wiekamp Center.
Grace jumped out to an 11 point lead in the first half and led by seven, 30-23 at the intermission. Bethel's inability to rebound or take care of the ball were costly but the biggest factor was the fact that nearly hustle/effort play went to the Lancers, who entered the night on a 15 year and 30 game losing streak to BC.
Bethel fought back in the second half and took a brief lead 37-36 but Grace responded immediately with a quick 8-0 run as the Bethel starters rested. The Lady Pilots would never regain the lead as Grace held on for the big MCC victory.
Laura Johnson finished with a game-high 18 points for Bethel and Kristen Hicks added 11 but the Lady Pilots were outrebounded 46-35 and coughed the ball up 20 times, while connecting on only 4 of 21 (19%) three point attempts.
"Tonight was a matter of which team wanted it more and it was Grace College," said an obviously frustrated BC Coach Jody Martinez. "They out-hustled us; they got the loose balls; they crashed the boards; and they had the fire in them and we didn't respond," added Martinez. "Once we took the lead by one, I thought we would be motivated as a team to build on it. However, we collapsed. We need to learn from this game and get better in three days to play IWU on Saturday."
The Lady Pilots, now 14-4 and 6-1 in the MCC will host NAIA DII No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday, January 14th at 1:00 pm.