The Missouri Valley College women's basketball team couldn't quite get over the hump, while staying within striking distance in a contest which featured six lead changes and seven tie scores, during a 61-58 Heart of America Conference home loss Monday to 24th-ranked MidAmerica Nazarene.
Despite falling behind by seven points early, thanks to a pair of buckets by junior JoNel Henning, the Lady Vikings never let the visitors out of their sights. Each team had seven-point runs during the first half, with the Lady Pioneers putting together another such stretch early in the second frame.
Trailing by eight points with under six minutes remaining, Valley threatened. Senior Holly Siverling made a basket and free throw and senior Theresa Gittens scored to trim the margin to three points.
MidAmerica bumped its lead back up to seven when 6-foot-4 junior Ashley Patterson posted up inside and Henning hit a short jumper.
Two Gittens charity shots and a pair of baskets by 6-0 junior forward Ashley Sequeira -- a transfer from Lane (Ore.), a strong juco program, seeing her first action for the Lady Vikings -- closed the gap to 54-53.
Valley still trailed by a point with two minutes remaining when Henning struck again. Senior Bonnie Johnson made one of two from the stripe, but Patterson hit both of her freebies a few seconds later.
Gittens drove to the hole with only a handful of seconds remaining and Henning was fouled to stop the clock. She made only one of two from the line to give the Lady Vikings a chance to tie, but they couldn't get a shot to drop.
The Lady Pioneers (10-5, 5-0 HAAC) were led by Henning's 24 points, and also benefited from a 29-16 advantage in free-throw attempts.
Siverling had 13 points, Johnson and Gittens each tallied 12 points and Sequeira chipped in with 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots -- among 14 rejections by Valley (6-6, 3-3).
The Lady Vikings, who have dropped four of their last five games, play Thursday at Central Methodist.