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Turnovers plague Saints in loss to Grace

Holy Cross women’s basketball made the 50-mile trip to Winona Lakes, IN Tuesday night for a non-conference battle with Grace College. The Saints edged out Huntington on opening night to start their year with a win. However, this one was a very different story. Grace gave Holy Cross all it could handle, hammering out a 99-68 win for its second consecutive victory with a 30-plus point margin. With the loss, the Saints have now dropped five of their last six meetings with the Lancers.

From the initial tip-off, Grace’s offense was in sync. The Lancers charged out to a 10-3 lead in the game’s first four minutes, as junior center Karlee Feldman collected a quick six points. Holy Cross then closed the gap with the help of sophomore guard Jordyn Smith. She made two three-pointers and scored eight points in the final six minutes of the first quarter. That brought the Saints to a 19-17 deficit at the end of the frame. 

The Lancers opened up a 51-38 halftime lead on the shoulders of a 32-point second quarter. Junior guard Kiersten Findley amassed ten points in a span of less than two minutes, leading a well-balanced Grace attack. Smith tallied eight more points in quarter two, but the Saints were bitten by eight turnovers and a 39.1 field goal percentage. On the other hand, Grace delivered at a 72.2% clip from the field to take control of the game. 

Both offenses mellowed out a bit in the third quarter, as Grace outscored Holy Cross 22-17. The Saints shot 43.2% to Grace’s 40%, but a late seven-point surge from junior guard Jenna Blakley kept the Lancers firmly out in front. Blakley contributed 10 more points in the fourth quarter, which happened to be Grace’s most dominant frame. The Lancers outscored the Saints 26-13 and outshot them 57.9% to 25% from the field, wrapping up an impressive 99-68 victory.

Jordyn Smith shined for the Saints with 24 points, making 9 of 13 field goals and connecting on five three-pointers. However, Smith did not receive much help.

Holy Cross had three other players in double-figures in Saturday’s win, but Smith was the only one Tuesday night. Sophomore guard Kayliana Hammel added five rebounds and a team-high five assists. The Saints lost the turnover battle 24-16, as Grace collected 15 steals. The Lancers outscored Holy Cross 25-3 in fast-break points. Four different players scored at least 15 points for the Lancers, spearheaded by Karlee Feldman’s double-double performance (22 points, 11 rebounds). She shot an impressive 10-for-13 from the field. Jenna Blakley (17 points) and Kiersten Findley (19 points) each shot over 50%.

The Saints will play each of their next six games at home. That stretch begins with a matchup with Bethel on Thursday night. Holy Cross has lost four straight matchups with the Pilots, including a 98-74 defeat a year ago.

Contact Tyler Reidy at treidy3@nd.edu.

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