CANTON -- Culver-Stockton went the final eight minutes without a field goal Thursday during its Heart of America Conference home game against the Missouri Valley College women's basketball team.
It didn't matter to the Lady Wildcats, who feasted from the free-throw line down the stretch for a 66-61 decision. After senior Monica Wilson's three-pointer gave Culver a nine-point lead with 8:36 left to play, the club squad made 15 of 18 freebies to remain in front.
For the game, the Lady 'Cats held an edge of 35-15 attempts from the charity stripe, making 74.3 percent of their chances.
The lead changed hands three times in the first half, the last one occurring when sophomore Ashley Troyer hit a jumper for the Lady Vikings with 6:06 to go. Three straight buckets by junior Cara Clark put Valley in front by seven points, it's largest lead of the game, with four minutes remaining.
The Lady Vikings went cold from the field the rest of the period, but still held a two-point edge at intermission. That advantage was lost when senior Rachel Larson stroked a three 37 seconds into the second half.
The teams swapped leads five times before Culver began pulling away. Freshman Shelsey Stanley sank two free throws and a bomb during a 12-0 run midway through the frame.
Valley's drought of four-and-a-half minutes was broken by an outside jumper from junior Sami Jackson. Clark's three-point play reduced the deficit to six points with 8:49 to go, but Wilson answered from outside.
Clark made two baskets and Quiring got a bucket and freebie to get the Lady Vikings within two points. A lay-up by Clark put Valley ahead by a point with 4:33 to go, but a two-minute scoring drought allowed the Lady 'Cats to regain the lead, which would be threatened after Jackson's bucket with 2:04 left closed the gap to two points.
That was as close as the Lady Vikings could get, though, as Culver kept making free throws -- including six in a row during the final minute.
Junior Nish Starks scored 19 points, going nine of 14 from the line, for the Lady Wildcats (7-4, 1-0 HAAC).
Clark's 24 points was the highest tally for a Valley player this season. The Lady Vikings (2-6, 0-1) will try to stop a three-game skid Saturday when they host Baker.