Warriors Fall to Grace in NCCAA Tourney

Credit: Bolton Photo
Credit: Bolton Photo

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Southern Wesleyan dropped their second straight in the NCCAA National Tournament on Thursday, falling 74-62 to the hosts Grace College.

Chelsie Waters poured in 20 points on 7 of 21 shooting but the legs grew tired and the shooting percentage went down. SWU made just 34.4 percent in the game and only 28.1 percent in the second half. The Warriors connected on just 4 of 14 from downtown in the second half after making 6 of 12 in the first half.

In addition to three made triples from Waters and Brooke Strickland, Kelsey Wheatle came off the bench to knock down four from beyond the arc, finishing with 12 points. Strickland added 15 points on 6 of 13 shooting.

Grace wasn't able to pull away from the Warriors until late in the second half despite playing on their home floor. The Lady Lancers grabbed a four point halftime lead at 37-33 and only led by as much as five in the first 20 minutes. A quick 7-0 run in the second half gave the home side their first double digit lead but the Warriors fought to cut the lead back to five on a triple by Wheatle.

The Warriors again cut the lead down to five late in the half but Grace used a 10-2 run to push the lead out to 13 with just under three minutes to go.

Grace used their size and depth to pull down 44 rebounds, 20 more than the Warriors. The Lady Lancers also shot 43.1 percent from the floor and made 18 of 22 from the free throw line. JoEllen Fickel led four players in double digits with 16 points for Grace.

The Warriors will wrap up the season against Northwestern (Minn.) on Friday at 3 p.m. in the 7th place game. Northwestern lost their first two games to Emmanuel and Southwestern Assemblies of God, scoring 39 points in each game. Northwestern entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed, SWU entered as the No. 7 seed.