Vikings use strong second half to upend Blue HawksAt halftime, there was only a three-point difference on the scoreboard.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
At halftime, there was only a three-point difference on the scoreboard.
It was going to be a battle.
The Valley City State women’s basketball team won the battle of brief momentums over Dickinson State 61-52 during the Sam Milanovich Classic on Saturday at Scott Gymnasium.
“It’s not a safe lead especially against a team like Dickinson,” VCSU head coach Jill DeVries said with a laugh. “It was a hard-fought battle.”
The Vikings (5-1) held a 31-28 lead at the half. Each team managed to go on brief runs, but none in double digits. Every time VCSU made a shot, DSU was right there to answer.
“We just told them to keep attacking,” DSU head coach Caleb Harrison said. “We just tried to execute our defense a little bit. Unfortunately, it slowed down.”
“There were a lot of things that we could fix and that we were only down by three,” DSU junior guard Mariah Duran added.
It wasn’t until the 9-minute, 3-second mark of the second half the Vikings took their first double-digit lead. Sophomore Sierra Even was the player to give VCSU the double-digit lead after banking in a jumper from the free-throw line. VCSU extended its lead to 13 after a Katelyn Ralston layup.
Brittany Lehner had a game-high 16 points including going 5 of 6 from the free-throw line in the second half. Courtney Titus added 12 points, four rebounds and five steals, while Sadiqah Jihad supplied 10 points, five rebounds and three steals.
DSU (2-4) wasn’t stopping its offensive production cutting the lead down to eight after a Mariah Duran 3-pointer and a pair of Dawne Degel free throws, but the Vikings used a brief 4-0 spark to extend their lead back to double figures.
“I think our defense is at a pretty good level,” Harrison said. “We’ve got to improve our offense. That falls back on me that we have to spend more time on it.”
Once the final seven minutes kicked in, VCSU needed to dominant from the free-throw line. The Vikings shot 6 of 13 (46 percent) from the free-throw line in the first half and started the second half 8 of 8 and finished 10 of 12.
“I didn’t think we did a very good job in the first half of knocking down free throws,” DeVries said. “I thought in the second half we gained our composure a little bit and did a little bit better job in the second half.”
The Blue Hawks shot 40 percent from the field in the first half and repeated the performance in the second half. DSU finished 18 of 45 in the game, but struggled from 3-point range shooting 19 percent. On top of that, DSU had 25 turnovers compared to VCSU’s 15.
Jenna Cabello, who had nine points in the loss against Jamestown College on Friday, supplied a team-high 12 points off the bench. Duran added 11 points, while Janae Moore posted seven.
“Jenna had a great weekend,” Harrison said. “She just plugs away. Every day she comes to practice and it’s paying off for her right now.”
Despite back-to-back losses to Jamestown College and VCSU, Duran believes the team is in the right position in the early parts of its season.
“We’re right there,” Duran said. “We’re still learning to play together. We learned a lot this weekend and I think it’s only to go up from here.”
VCSU (4-1): Brittany Lehner 5-8 6-10 16, Alyssa Hummel 2-8 0-0 4, Katelyn Ralston 2-10 0-0 5, Courtney Titus 4-9 4-6 12, Sadiqah Jihad 3-5 4-7 10, Erika Ettl 0-0 0-0 0, Sierra Even 1-5 0-0 2, Ashli Lee 1-2 0-0 2, Stephanie Pederson 2-2 0-0 4, Kelsey Hunter 2-5 2-2 6. Totals: 22-54 16-25 61.
DSU (2-4): Janae Moore 2-4 3-4 7, Jess Bygate 2-6 2-3 6, Lorna Shepherd 1-3 3-7 5, Yianna Nadeau 1-8 2-2 5, Mariah Duran 4-7 1-2 11, Dawne Degel 1-4 2-2 4, Ashley Jelly 1-5 0-0 2, Jenna Cabello 6-8 0-1 12, Jaylyn Klauzer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-45 13-21 52.
Halftime: VCSU 31-28. Total fouls: VCSU 21, DSU 23. Fouled out: VCSU, Titus. 3-point goals: VCSU 1-8 (Ralston 1-3, Titus 0-1, Jihad 0-1, Even 0-2, Lee 0-1), DSU 3-16 (Moore 0-1, Bygate 0-1, Shepherd 0-2, Nadeau 1-4, Duran 2-3, Degel 0-2, Jelly 0-3). Rebounds: VCSU 36 (Ralston 8), DSU 34 (Shepherd 6). Assists: VCSU 8 (Jihad 3), DSU 12 (Jelly 3, Duran 3). Steals: VCSU 11 (Titus 5), DSU 7 (Shepherd 3). Blocks: VCSU 2, DSU 3. Turnovers: VCSU 15 (Titus 5), DSU 25 (Shepherd 8).