Score: Evangel 65, Missouri Valley 62
Records: Evangel (4-1, 2-1), Missouri Valley (4-6, 2-6)
Location: Burns Athletic Center
MARSHALL, Mo. – Brianna Vogts scored six of her career-high 22 points during a critical 9-2 Evangel scoring run that closed out a 65-62 victory over Missouri Valley Thursday evening at the Burns Athletic Center.
Vogts also pulled down a season-best 15 rebounds to go along with her 10-of-16 effort from the floor, including the go-ahead bucket with 1:27 left in the game. Evangel erased a 60-56 deficit in the final 3:25 of regulation, overcoming a 0.368 (28-of-76) shooting night and a 7-for-15 (0.467) effort from the foul line.
After the Vikings scored six unanswered points to build their four-point cushion, Vogts scored in the paint to slice the lead in half, before Mia Mills jumper with 1:59 to play knotted the score at 60-60. Zoey Mullings came up with the first of two crucial steals down the stretch on MVC's ensuing possession, and Vogts converted in transition off of a feed from Sadie Chisum to put the Crusaders on top to stay.
Vogts scored again with 1:07 left on the clock after Mullings came up with another takeaway, and Bayley Harman sank a free throw with 15 seconds to play to give EU a three-point spread. Shalina Harper's three-point try at the buzzer was off the mark, handing the Crusaders their fourth-straight win over the Vikings.
In addition to Vogts standout effort, Harman added a season-best 17 points, five boards and four assists, while Alexis Cauthon added eight points for EU.
"It was a tough battle tonight," Evangel head coach Megan Leuzinger said. "Thankfully, we were able to lock it in defensively and get stops when we needed to. Our shots weren't falling, but our defense kept us in the game. I'm proud of the way we fought the whole game."
Evangel emerged victorious, despite a rough shooting start and a hard-charging MVC squad that erased an 11-point third-period deficit. The Crusaders trailed 13-10 after one quarter after the Vikings scored nine of the final 11 points of the period.
Vogts and Harman combined for 17 first-half points to pace EU, which rallied in the second quarter to outscore the home club by an 18-8 margin and take a 28-21 advantage into intermission. The Crusaders were off the mark from long range, going 0-for-11 from beyond the three-point arc in the first half.
But Harman's triple just 34 seconds into the third period extended the EU lead to double-digits, and a Mullings free throw at the 8:06 mark gave the Crusaders their largest lead of the night at 34-23.
MVC started its comeback with an Irene Madrid three-pointer with just over six minutes to play in the quarter, setting off a 7-0 Vikings spurt.
A three-point play by Cauthon and another Mullings free throw momentarily moved the margin back to eight points for EU, but Ariel Miller converted a second-chance basket for the first of two-straight field goals that trimmed the MVC deficit to just four points.
Harper continued the surge with a long three at the 2:16 mark, and back-to-back field goals by Brecon Antrillo and Shanelle Tolley gave the Vikings their first lead since early in the second period.
Alexis Roach handed the Crusaders the lead once again with her driving bucket with 18 seconds to go in the third, igniting a 6-0 spurt that put EU on top, 48-43 with just over nine minutes to play.
Once again the Vikings responded, this time behind a pair of buckets by Tolley and another Harper trey to even the score at 52-52 with 7:04 left on the clock. Miller, who registered a team-high 18 points for MVC, gave the Vikings a one-point lead, only to see Cauthon drain a triple to hand the Crusaders a 56-54 edge with 6:06 to play.
From there, a pair of Madrid free throws and buckets by Miller and Hannah Stephens combined to give the Vikings their largest lead of the game, before Vogts' late heroics turned the tables for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders wrap up their three-game road stretch with a 2 p.m. game Saturday (Dec. 12) at Baker in Baldwin City, Kan.
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