VALLEY CITY (VCSU) – Two Vikings reached career milestones, and the Valley City State women’s basketball team won a huge conference matchup with Bellevue University on Sunday afternoon.

In a battle of one-loss teams in the North Star Athletic Association, Valley City State broke the game wide open in the fourth quarter, putting together a game-changing 13-1 run en route to a 67-54 victory.

Valley City State moves to 7-9 overall and is now 4-1 in the North Star Athletic Association. VCSU is tied with Mayville State atop the NSAA standings. Bellevue, ranked No. 24 in the NAIA, drops to 12-8 overall and 3-2 in the NSAA. The Vikings swept their weekend with a win against Dakota State as well on Friday. The Bruins went 0-2 on their weekend road trip, also suffering a loss at Mayville State on Friday.

Viking senior Kaitlin Connor became the new career blocks at VCSU with her 97th career block at the end of the first quarter on Sunday. She surpassed the old record of 96 held by Loni Hall. Senior forward Alli Vandal reached a milestone by scoring her 1,000th career point in the game, becoming the 16th member of the 1,000 point club at VCSU.

Vandal scored her 1,000th career point early in the fourth quarter when she was fouled on a 3-point attempt and sank all three free throws for a 52-39 lead. It was part of a 13-1 run that broke the game wide open for VCSU. Huber followed with a 3-point play inside, Connor hit a 12-foot jumper, and Alexis Bentz drained a 3-pointer to put the Vikings ahead 60-40 with 3:45 remaining.

Mackenzie Huber scored eight first-quarter points for the Vikings, keeping VCSU close as they ended the first quarter trailing 11-10. Huber scored again early in the second quarter, putting VCSU ahead 12-11 and sparking an 11-1 Viking run that put them up 21-12 midway through the second period. The Vikings led the rest of the way, thanks to a strong defensive effort up and down the lineup.

“The biggest takeaway from this game was our defensive effort,” said head coach Vanessa Keeler-Johnson. “I thought we showed great toughness and togetherness on that end of the floor. Offensively, we carried our momentum from Friday and had a similar mindset to attack and be aggressive.”

After taking a 24-17 lead into the locker room, the Vikings maintained their lead early in the third quarter, opening up a 30-21 advantage on Huber’s two free throws with 7:09 left in the third. Back-to-back turnovers by the Vikings led to a quick 5-0 Bellevue run, including a 3-pointer by Morgan Cuffe, that cut the Viking lead to 30-26.

Valley City State responded with five of their own, capped by Dierra Diegel‘s right-wing 3-pointer to put VCSU ahead 35-26. Bellevue again cut the Viking lead to five points, but back-to-back 3’s by Hannah Schlecht and Emily Schafer gave VCSU it’s biggest lead of the third quarter at 41-30. Schafer would add two 15-foot jumpers late in the quarter – scoring VCSU’s last seven points – as the Vikings held a 45-36 advantage entering the fourth.

Huber continued to make an early case for conference player of the year as she posted her third straight double-double, leading the Vikings with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Vandal added 10 points and five rebounds. Dierra Diegel knocked down two 3-pointers as she finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. Schelcht and Schafer each added seven points.

VCSU shot 44 percent overall (22-50), 28 percent on 3’s (5-18) and 82 percent at the free throw line (18-22). Bellevue finished the game shooting 31 percent overall (18-58), 30 percent on 3’s (9-30) and 64 percent on free throws (9-14).

Faith Ross led the Bruins with 15 points, including four 3-pointers. Morgan Cuffe added 11 points, while Shanae Collins scored nine.

The Vikings held a 35-28 rebounding advantage. VCSU finished with 13 assists and 22 turnovers. The Bruins had eight assists and 17 turnovers.

Up next: Valley City State goes on the road for games at Dickinson State on Friday and Presentation College on Saturday. Bellevue returns home for games against Viterbo on Friday and Waldorf on Saturday.


VALLEY CITY (VCSU) – Bellevue guard Richard Reed drove the length of the court in 3.7 seconds Sunday as he scored the game-winning basket at the buzzer to stun Valley City State University.

Viking sophomore Logan Nelson had just drained a game-tying 3-pointer from the right wing, sending the Viking crowd into a frenzy and evening the score at 65-65. Out of a timeout, Reed took the inbounds pass and sprinted the length of the court, scoring a full-speed layup from the right block as time expired.

Valley City State University drops to 4-12 overall and 1-4 in the NSAA. The Vikings lost their two conference games this weekend by a combined four points. Bellevue improves to 10-11 overall and 4-1 in the NSAA. The Bruins are currently tied with Presentation College atop the NSAA standings.

A back-and-forth first half on Sunday featured four ties and eight lead changes. Bellevue led by as many as eight points midway through the half before VCSU battled back. The Vikings scored the last five points of the half – including a 3-pointer by Christian Kvilvang with 3 seconds remaining – to take a 30-27 lead into the locker room. Both teams made five 3-pointers in the first half.

Bellevue’s Sequan Walker and VCSU’s Logan Nelson went shot-for-shot early in the second half as both teams came out firing. Walker and Nelson scored seven points each in the first three minutes, after which the Vikings maintained their lead at 40-36.

Bellevue used a 12-4 run midway through the second half to take its biggest lead of the game. Richard Reed’s 3-pointer with 9:07 to go made it 56-48 in favor of the Bruins. The Vikings did not fold though, battling back down the stretch. A 3-point play by Michael Cornelious inside cut the deficit to 59-55 with 5:39 to go. Nelson drained a 3-pointer with 2:09 remaining to pull VCSU within 61-60. Bellevue’s Jaron Dickson answered on the other end, but Nelson responded with a jumper to make it 63-62 in favor of Bellevue.

VCSU’s defense prevented Bellevue from scoring on the next possession, giving the Vikings a chance at the lead in the final minute. Bellevue’s defense answered by blocking Morgan’s shot attempt out of bounds and forcing the Vikings into a long 3-point attempt as the shot clock expired. Walker went to the line on the other end and sank two free throws with 16 seconds remaining to go ahead 65-62. Out of a timeout, Nelson received the ball on the right wing, dribbled and a drained a pull-up 3 to tie the game at 65-65 with 3.7 seconds left. Overtime was not in the cards though as Reed delivered the game-winner for Bellevue.

Nelson made four 3-pointers and finished with 22 points to lead the Viking offense, including 17 points in the second half. Nelson scored VCSU’s final eight points, and he and Cornelious combined to score the final 13 for the Vikings. Cornelious finished with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists. Jake Skelly made three 3-pointers as he finished with nine points and four assists. Chris Morgan added nine points and three assists in the middle.

Walker led the Bruins with 15 points, including 12 in the second half. Reed added 11 points and three steals. Stephen Matthews and Justin Bessard each scored nine for the Bruins.

VCSU shot 50 percent overall (25-50), 45 percent from 3-point range (10-22) and 71 percent at the line (5-7). Bellevue finished at 48 percent overall (24-50), 50 percent on 3’s (12-24) and 64 percent on free throws (7-11).

Bellevue held a slight 25-23 rebounding advantage, including a 6-3 edge in offensive rebounds. The Vikings finished with 12 assists and 11 turnovers. Bellevue totaled seven assists and eight turnovers.

Up next: Valley City State goes on the road for games at Dickinson State on Friday and Presentation College on Saturday. Bellevue returns home for games against Viterbo on Friday and Waldorf on Saturday.