Lady Tornado defeated by host Grace at NCCAA

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - King College was upended 67-55 by host Grace (Ind.) College Friday at the NCCAA Division I Women's Basketball National Tournament.

The Lady Tornado, the No. 8 seed at the event, will play in the seventh-place game Saturday against No. 6 seed Trinity International (Ill.) College at 11 a.m. Trinity International was defeated by No. 7 seed Mid-America Christian (Okla.) University 72-58 earlier Friday. Grace, the No. 5 seed, and Mid America will battle for fifth at 1 p.m.

King's record went to 13-18 after the contest while Grace owns a 17-16 mark. The Lady Tornado lost for back-to-back games for the first time since December 16 and 18, 2010.

Grace opened the game with a 7-0 run before Jessica Tharpe (Sevierville, Tenn.) put the Lady Tornado on the board with two points almost five minutes into the contest. Ashley Deans (Greeneville, Tenn.) scored the next four points to get King within one.

Tharpe and Deans would go on to lead King with 14 points apiece.

Grace kept the lead that grew to as many as six, 22-16. A five-point spurt, three from Brooke Johnson (Roan Mountain, Tenn.) and two more by Tharpe made it a one-point margin with 4:16 left in the half. The home team scored six straight again, but the next five points went to King. The half came to an end with Grace ahead 30-26.

The first four points of the second half was scored by the home team, but Thapre gave King a 39-38 lead with 13:04 to go. Her free throw after the basket gave the Lady Tornado their largest lead of two.

Two free throws by Grace's Hannah Lengel made the score 53-52 with 2:38 left, the last time the lead changed hands. Lengel's free throws were the first of nine straight points that came at the free throw line for the home team. After the free throw run King trailed 60-52 with 88 seconds on the clock.

In all 14 of Grace's last 18 points in the final 3:39 came at the free throw line. Rachel Striebich hit a basket with 3:39 to go which put Grace in front 51-50 at that point. The next field goal was by Kiera Gray as 1:01 was on the clock. In between Grace's last two field goals, the team made nine free throws with five more in the final minute.

Johnson scored 10 points to go along with the 28 between Deans and Tharpe. All five of King's starters grabbed at least four rebounds with a team-best five for Kalen Collins (Wise, Va.).

Gray finished with 18 points for the home team with 10 by Danielle Boykin. Grace put 13 players onto the court and 11 scored at least a point.

Grace only had one more field goal than King, 21-20. The Lady Tornado made four 3-pointers compared to one by Gray for Grace. At the free throw line Grace finished 24-for-30 (80.0 percent) while King was 11-for-15 (73.3 percent). Lengel and Gray each went 7-for-8 and combined for more free throws than the Lady Tornado.

King defeated Grace a season ago on the second day of the NCCAA National Tournament, a 69-68 overtime contest.