The Missouri Valley College women’s basketball team opened the new year with a road non-conference game in St. Louis, Mo., against Missouri Baptist, Saturday afternoon. The Vikings overcame a deficit early in the fourth quarter to earn an 82-69 win.
The game opened with Missouri Baptist moving out to a 7-2 lead with just over three-minutes played. The Spartans then increased its lead out to 11-4 one-minute later, but Missouri Valley responded with a run. Junior Forward Irene Madrid (Barcelona, Spain) started the next stretch of play with a field goal, followed by a free throw from Junior Center Kayla Nelson (Warrenton, Mo.). Junior Guard Sheilalika Abgayani (Lahaina, Hawaii) added a pair of free throws, while Senior Guard Shaline Harper (Helper, Kan.) sank a three-pointer. Senior Forward Hannah Stephens (Hallsville, Mo.) finished the 10-0 run with a basket in the paint to make it a 14-11 MVC lead with less than two minutes to play in the quarter. Missouri Baptist went back in front in the closing moments of the first quarter, but Helper sank a three-point shot just before the buzzer to put the Vikings on top, 21-19.
An early field goal from Sophomore Center Ana Arroyo (Madrid, Spain) pushed the advantage out to 23-19 in the opening moments of the second quarter, and the Vikings maintained a lead over MBU through the next several minutes. Stephens added another basket in the paint, to make it a 27-23 score near the eight-minute mark, but Missouri Baptist responded with a run. The Spartans outscored MVC by a 6-1 margin over the next two minutes to reclaim the lead, at 29-28, with four minutes played in the quarter. Nelson answered with a basket moments later, and Stephens later came down with an offensive rebound, and a second-chance field goal to push the advantage out to 32-29 midway through the quarter. The Spartans got to within a one-point deficit, but back-to-back field goals from Nelson stretched the Viking lead to 36-31 with just over three minutes to play in the half. Stephens capped off scoring in the second quarter with a pair of field goals, and Missouri Valley went into halftime with its largest lead of the game, 40-33. The Vikings shot over 51-percent in the half, and held a 25-12 advantage in rebounding.
Missouri Baptist quickly erased its deficit at the start of the third quarter, scoring the opening seven points to tie the contest at 40-40 with less than two minutes played after the restart. Senior Forward Shanelle Tolley (Hope Island, Australia) ended the MVC drought with a pair of free throws. The two teams went scoreless over the next two minutes, but Junior Forward Brecon Antrillo (Lakewood, Colo.) added to the MVC lead with a field goal to make it a 44-40 score with just over six minutes remaining in the quarter. Later in the quarter, Harper sank a three-pointer, and Senior Forward Ariel Miller (Maple Valley, Wash.) sank a shot in the paint to give the VIkings a 49-42 lead midway through the quarter. The two teams traded points over the next stretch, but the Spartans gradually chipped away at their deficit, eventually trailing, 53-52, with less than two minutes remaining. Stephens added a pair of free throws, increasing the advantage, but MBU outscored Missouri Valley by a 6-2 margin in the closing moments of the quarter to hold a 58-57 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Spartans added to their lead at the start of the fourth quarter, with a field goal to make it a 60-57 score. Missouri Valley worked back to take the lead, as Tolley opened a 7-0 run with a pair of free throws. Stephens tied the game with one made free throw, while Tolley came down with an offensive rebound on a missed Stephens’ free throw attempt. Tolley then scored in the paint, and was followed moments later by points-in-the-paint from Miller to put the MVC advantage at 64-60 with three minutes played. Missouri Baptist rallied, and went back in front, 67-66, midway through the quarter. Tolley responded with another basket in the paint to give the Vikings the lead for good with just over four minutes to play in the contest. Missouri Valley finished the game outscoring MBU by a 16-2 margin. Miller hit a three-pointer, and finished with four made free throws during the final stretch of play to lead the team. The Vikings earned an 82-69 victory.
Tolley led the team with her sixth double-double of the season, scoring 22 points with 12 rebounds. Stephens added her fifth double-double, of 14 points and 12 rebounds. Miller came off the bench to score 15 points and grab seven rebounds. Missouri Valley limited Missouri Baptist to 37-percent shooting, and forced the Spartans into 16 turnovers. Missouri valley held a 53-27 advantage in rebounding.
The win moves Missouri Valley to 7-6 on the season, while Missouri Baptist drops to 4-2.
Next for the Viking women’s basketball team is a home game, Monday at 5:30 p.m., against Health Sciences & Pharmacy (Mo.).