Grace College’s women’s basketball team could not clinch the opening round of the 2021 NCCAA National Championships, falling 74-55 to Concordia on Wednesday.
The loss eliminates Grace from contention for a national title, but the Lady Lancers still have two more games remaining in the tournament.
Grace will take on Columbia International on Thursday at 10:15 a.m.
The first half was played tightly with all the feel of a national tournament matchup. Kyannah Stull gave Grace a boost, pouring in eight points over the first five minutes thanks to two 3-pointers.
Concordia battled back to regain the lead, largely muting Grace’s offense outside of Stull. Stull scored 10 of Grace’s 14 points in the frame as the Lady Lancers trailed 20-14.
Grace battled its way to the free throw line in the second quarter, helping cut the Cardinals’ cushion down to four with three minutes to play.
But Grace did not score again over the final 3:10 of the half, missing a number of close-range looks to keep momentum away from the home team.
Concordia capitalized with a pair of triples before halftime, claiming a 36-26 edge at the intermission.
Grace shot just 27 percent from the field before halftime compared to 47 percent for the Cardinals.
Grace’s offense was sluggish in the third quarter. The Lady Lancers were held to a single basket from Maddie Ryman over the first five minutes of the period, and the Cardinals pulled away by 14 as a result.
Ryman was the next player to score for Grace, scoring with 4:05 remaining in the third quarter.
Grace went another three minutes before scoring again, at which point the Cardinals had opened up an 18-point lead.
Stull scored four quick points near the end of the quarter, but Concordia ended the period with a triple to lead 51-34.
Ryman tried to jump Grace’s attack to life with five points to begin the fourth quarter, but Concordia weathered the early storm.
The Cardinals eventually led by more than 20 and coasted to the final win. Concordia will play in the national semifinals on Thursday against Northwestern.
Stull scored a game-high 21 points, and Ryman added 14 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.