Valley gets HAAC home sweep

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Missouri Valley College women's basketball team snapped a four-game skid Monday, coming from behind for a 71-61 home decision over Heart of America Conference rival Culver-Stockton.

The Valley men also had to recover from a halftime deficit, but rallied for a 55-50 victory over the Wildcats for the first sweep of the season.

The Culver women shot 43.3 percent from the field, with junior Monica Wilson downing a pair of three-pointers, to take a four-point lead into the break. While the Lady 'Cats kept up that shooting pace, Valley hit 55.6 percent of its attempts during the second half and sank 14 of 22 free throws to secure the victory.

Junior Emily Lay scored 11 points to lead Culver (1-11, 0-4 HAAC).

Senior Sha'Teah West led the Lady Vikings (4-11, 2-1) in scoring for the 11th time in 15 games, hitting 11 of 16 shots for a career-high 25 points. Senior Jonica Booth added 14 points and sophomore Sami Jackson had a well-rounded performance with 10 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and five steals.

The Valley men trailed by seven points at intermission and were unable to slice into the deficit during first 11 minutes of the second half.

Over the next four minutes, though, Culver missed both of its shots from the field and committed five turnovers, giving the Vikings the opening they needed.

Junior Chris Hortman put back a missed shot and so did junior Matt Baker, who was fouled and sank the free throw. Hortman got another second-chance bucket to cut the margin to a point and Valley took the lead when senior Toray Henry crashed the offensive glass with 5:10 remaining.

A conventional three-point play by junior Sean Stokes gave the Vikings a four-point lead, but junior Drew Ayers connected from outside and senior Steven Crawford followed with a deuce and a pair of free throws to put Culver back in front with 2:28 to go.

The lead changed hands three more times until Hortman nailed a bomb with 46 seconds left. The 'Cats missed both of their shots down the stretch while junior Cooper Trumbo and Hortman each cashed in on double bonuses to secure the win -- Valley's third in a row against NAIA competition.

Crawford had his first career double-double for Culver (1-12, 1-3) with 23 points and 12 rebounds.

Hortman tied for game-high honors with 23 points, also leading the Vikings (6-8, 1-2) with four steals and three assists. Henry contributed 17 points and eight boards.

The Valley teams will be on the road Thursday at Lindenwood.

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