The Lady Vikings were seeking their fourth straight win, but were derailed by top-ranked College of the Ozarks, 102-86. Still, it wasn't easy for Hard Work U, an NAIA Division II finalist a year ago.
There were nine lead changes and four tie scores during the first half before the Lady Bobcats went on a 17-4 run to end the period, junior Kayli Combs hitting a pair of three-pointers during the spree.
Ozarks shot 62.1 percent from the field, including seven of 11 from outside the arc, during the second half to keep the Lady Vikings from climbing back into the game. Valley made 57.4 percent of its field goal attempts, the third game in a row of 50-percent-plus shooting, but couldn't match C of O's 13 bombs.
Combs and junior Lindsy Murray each scored 24 points for Ozarks (8-0) -- which had a nice night all-around from senior Janessa DeMuth with 17 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and seven steals.
Senior Bonnie Johnson, the current Heart of America Conference "player of the week," had 24 points to lead the Lady Vikings (4-2). Junior Imogene Dooley came off the bench to contribute a season-high 14 points.
Columbia enjoyed a 15-point halftime cushion during its 65-57 victory over the Valley men. Most of the margin was created during a nine-point spree which ended on junior Miroslav Lukic's trey midway through the first half.
The Cougars pushed their advantage to 21 points early in the second half, but that didn't appear safe after junior Caleb Moon twice struck from downtown to key a 17-4 Valley rally which reduced its deficit to six points with under a minute remaining.
Senior Trae Hall made all four of his free-throw attempts in crunch time, winding up with a game-high 15 points, to seal the victory for Columbia (8-1).
Junior Craig Jones had 14 points for the Vikings (0-9), shooting under 40 percent from the floor for the fourth straight game at 38.9 percent.
The Valley women will play Thursday at HAAC rival Culver-Stockton, while the men will be off until Saturday's home twinbill against William Jewell.