CANTON -- Culver-Stockton held the Missouri Valley College women's basketball team more than 20 points below its scoring average Thursday, but had trouble making its shots during a 50-46 Heart of America Conference home loss.
The Lady Vikings went into the contest fourth in the NAIA in field-goal efficiency, hitting 49.4 percent of their shots, but managed only 41.2 percent -- two-tenths of a point above their season low -- for the game. However, the Lady Wildcats had just 14 points from the paint, forcing them to gun from outside -- where they were two of 12.
Valley led by as many as six points twice in the first half, on a lay-up by junior Holly Siverling with 11:37 to go and senior Bonnie Johnson's jumper at the 3:25 mark, but couldn't shake their hosts.
The margin reached nine points when senior Nicole Allison finished a break started by Johnson's steal five minutes into the second half, by senior Kristin Allen made two buckets and a pair of free throws -- six of her team-high 13 points -- during Culver's eight-point run which tightened the gap to a mere point.
The Lady 'Cats never quite caught up. Junior Rachel Veit, Johnson and senior Theresa Gittens each connected from short range and Johnson's charity shot made it 38-30 with 9:16 left in the game.
The Lady Vikings then missed their next six shots as their lead dwindled to two, until Johnson finished feeds from sophomore Jordanne Walker and junior Imogene Dooley to extend the cushion to seven points with 2:10 remaining.
Although Valley only made two of its next eight free throws, going eight of 20 from the stripe during the second half, the only shot from the field Culver-Stockton (4-5, 0-3 HAAC) could get drop was freshman Breezy Guymon's bomb with 1:26 showing.
Johnson, sixth in the nation at 24.4 points per game, led the Lady Vikings with 18 points. Siverling had 12 points, nine rebounds and four steals and Allison contributed nine points, 11 boards and a pair of blocked shots.
Valley (5-2, 3-0) will be home Saturday for a HAAC men's-women's doubleheader against William Jewell.