BALDWIN CITY, Kan. -- The Missouri Valley College women's basketball team responded to the announced resignation of head coach Keith Lindahl by beating Heart of America Conference foe Baker, 65-51, Thursday at Baldwin City, Kan.
Lindahl told The Marshall Democrat-News on Wednesday that his main reason for leaving was to rejoin his wife, Gayle, in Minnesota. He came to Valley three years ago, fresh off a NJCAA championship at Atoka-Ramsey Community College.
Prior to this season, Lindahl vowed that "if we don't go to the national tournament, they'll probably be looking for a new coach."
Although the Lady Vikings could still possibly qualify for the NAIA Division II Tournament, Lindahl has been dissatisfied with the team's near-.500 performance.
"I don't want to say I'm disappointed with the players," Lindahl explained. "I coach to win, and I didn't do it."
Following Thursday's game, Valley is 45-43 during Lindahl's tenure. School officials said he'd be replaced by current assistant coach Jolene Christensen, a native of Puyallup, Wash., who graduated from now-defunct Huron (S.D.) -- where Vikings head football coach Paul Troth had served before moving to Marshall.
Senior Bonnie Johnson recorded a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds during Valley's victory over the Lady Wildcats -- who were led by senior Allie Heinen's 17 points.
The Lady Vikings led by 12 points at halftime and didn't let Baker (15-14, 10-9 HAAC) back into the game.
Senior Nicole Allison had 14 points and sophomore Jordan Walker contributed 12 points and five assists for Valley (14-13, 10-9) -- which finds itself in a four-way tie for fourth place in the league standings. The Lady Vikings have split their meetings with Baker, but have lost both contests against Avila and Evangel.
The Valley men fell behind by 24 points during the first half and never recovered during an 82-57 loss to the Wildcats.
Baker out-shot the visitors, 54.2 to 32.8 percent -- including a whopping 60.7-23.3 during the first half.
Four players scored in double figures for the 'Cats (9-19, 6-13), 17 points from junior Heath Baird -- who drained five shots from outside the arc.
Senior Boman Mullings had a game-high 22 points and junior Craig Jones added 17, but the rest of the Vikings tallied only 18 points -- just five off the bench, compared to 38 points for Baker's reserves.
Valley (8-22, 8-11), which has lost five of its last six games, is in sixth place in the HAAC and will make it to the post-season tournament -- regardless of the outcome of Saturday's regular season finale at home against Benedictine.