VALLEY CITY N.D. -- Led by Brittany Hill, the Bellevue University women's basketball team overcame a slow start while battling back for a 72-63 victory at Valley City State University in North Star Athletic Association action Saturday afternoon at the W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse.
With the win, the Bruins improved to 11-8 on the season and 2-1 in the NSAA. VCSU fell to 4-9 overall and 2-1 in league play.
Coming off the bench, Hill drained four 3-pointers, leading the Bruins with 18 points and three rebounds. Lexi Allen finished with 11 points, hitting 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Elexis Martinez narrowly missed a double-double, collecting 11 points and nine rebounds.
Mackenzie Huber paced the Vikings with 25 points and 12 rebounds. She was 9-of-12 from the field and 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.
The Bruins were cold in the early going, shooting just 21 percent from the field in the opening quarter as VCSU grabbed a 12-9 advantage after the first 10 minutes of play. BU was just 4-of-19 from the field and 1-of-4 from behind the arc in the first period.
After Allen scored five-straight points to tie the contest at 18-18, the Vikings went on a 7-1 run to grab a 25-19 lead with four minutes remaining before the intermission.
The Bruins got as close as two points after a 3-point play by Jerrene Richardson, before the Vikings scored the final three points of the half to take a 30-25 lead at the break.
Allen and Richardson both scored five points to lead the BU offense in the first half. The Bruins shot just 27.3 percent in the opening half compared to 46.2 percent for the Vikings.
Huber led VCSU in the first half with 11 points and five rebounds. She was 4-of-5 from the field and 3-of-3 from the charity stripe.
A 10-0 BU run, sparked by consecutive 3-pointers from Hill, Laura Jurek, and Jamie Winkler gave the Bruins a 40-37 lead with 5:20 left in the third frame. After a pair of free throws by Richardson gave BU a six-point edge, VCSU used a 12-point run to regain a six-point advantage at 50-44 with one minute left in the third. The Bruins scored the final seven points of the quarter capped by a 3-pointer from Allen to take a 51-50 lead heading into the final stanza.
A long 3-pointer by Hill gave BU its largest lead of the game at 61-53 with 5:37 left in the game.
After Huber scored all seven points in a 7-0 Viking run to pull VCSU to within a point at 61-60, the Bruins countered with a seven-point run of their own to push the margin back to eight points (68-60) with just under a minute remaining.
BU nailed four free throws in the final 30 seconds to preserve the 72-63 victory.
The Bruins will host Presentation College at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17 at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.