The Lady Tigers played their best half of basketball of the year on Saturday as they took on the #4 ranked and reigning NCCAA runner-up Manhattan Christian in Ankeny, Iowa. The Tiger defense stifled the Crusaders and held them to 23 first half points as GBC held a 32-23 lead at intermission. Freshman guard Molly Holtrop caused all kinds of problems for Manhattan in the first half, scoring 11 points in the opening period.
Unfortunately for the Lady Tigers, they do not award victories at half time as Manhattan came out on fire and Grace came out of the locker room a little sluggish. Manhattan got hot from the field and seemingly hit every open shot as they turned that nine point defecit in to a double digit lead in the second half. While Crusaders got hot, the Tigers struggled with ball movement and turnovers for about an eight minute stretch. Grace was able to close the lead to five on a couple of Julia Wilson three pointers, but they would get no closer. Manhattan hit a layup at the buzzer to make the final score 64-56.
Molly Holtrop led the scoring for Grace with 13 points while Anna Iwaniw had 10 and Marissa Pelletier scored nine. The rebounding battle was very close with Grace holding a slight 33-31 edge. Anna Iwaniw led the rebounders with seven. Molly Holtrop had six assists and Katie Allers finished off a nice weekend off the bench with six rebounds and two charges taken.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said a disappointed Coach Renzema after the game. “We played very well in the first half, but Manhattan is a talented and well-coached team and they made some key adjustments. All of the statistics for the game were very close with one exception being turnovers. We had nine more than they did, many of which were unforced, and that was the difference in the game.”