BELLEVUE, Neb. -- Senior Ryleigh McCartney scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Bellevue University women's basketball team to a 65-58 upset victory over 19th-ranked Valley City State University Friday night in North Star Athletic Association action at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.
The Bruins improved to 9-9 on the season with the win and 3-2 in the NSAA. The victory marked BU's first win over a top-20 program in school history. VCSU fell to 12-3 overall and 4-2 in league play.
McCartney was 5-of-6 from beyond the arc and 6-of-9 from the field while sinking 5-of-6 free throw attempts. She also added a pair of assists and a rebound. Elexis Martinez finished with 11 points, three assists, and two boards. Caletria Curtis grabbed a game-high nine rebounds while adding six points.
Lexi Lennon led three Vikings in double figures with 18 points while adding two assists and a pair of rebounds. Kate Williams registered 13 points, all in the first half. Mackenzie Huber finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
Both teams shot over 50 percent in the first quarter as neither team could establish control as the quarter featured four ties and two lead changes. Beth Walker scored four points in the opening frame as the quarter ended in a 14-14 tie.
The Vikings used a 9-2 run to build a 29-20 advantage with 1:33 left before halftime. The Bruins, however, ended the half with 3-pointers by McCartney and Taylor Cormier to slice the deficit to 29-26 at the intermission. BU cooled off in the second quarter, shooting just 29 percent, but the Bruins were 2-of-4 from behind the arc.
McCartney led BU in the first half with eight points, two assists, and a rebound. Williams paced VCSU with 13 points and a rebound.
The Bruins closed to within one point on three different occasions to start the second half before a pair of free throws by Martinez gave BU a 34-33 advantage with 6:35 left in the third quarter. Neither team led by more than two points the remainder of the quarter until a 3-pointer at the buzzer by McCartney gave BU a 45-42 lead heading into the final stanza.
After a layup by Shayla Dean gave the Bruins a seven-point lead with 7:14 left in the game, VCSU used a 5-0 run to slice the BU lead to two points at 50-48 at the six-minute mark.
McCartney's fifth 3-pointer of the game and a baseline jumper by Morgan Cuffe gave the Bruins a 60-52 edge with two minutes remaining in the contest. The Bruins nailed five free throws in the final 90 seconds to preserve the 65-58 victory.
The Bruins will host sixth-ranked University of Jamestown at 3 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 6) in the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.