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For the first 20 minutes of the Valley City State University women's basketball team's game with St. Cloud State Wednesday at W.E. Osmon Field house, the Vikings struggled at times against a tough Huskie defense, but never let the game get out of hand, even mounting a story run to keep it close at halftime in the 70-45 loss.
But in the second half of the exhibition for the Vikings, which has no effect on the team's win-loss record, the pressure finally got to them.
The Huskies clenched their jaws around the Viking offense, running a 2-3 buzz defense that swarmed VCSU's guards at the perimeter and forced turnovers before the Vikings could make a pass.
As a result, it took the Vikings three minutes to get a bucket as St. Cloud upped the score from 32-27 at halftime to 46-31 a few minutes into the second half.
"We run it as well," Valley City coach Jill DeVries said about the zone. "They just are longer and quicker to the ball and we stood around. You can't stand around against it or they're going to get steals."
It led to 15 second-half turnovers for the Vikings, who had 28 turnovers in the game. In comparison, the Huskies had 17 turnovers in the contest.
At the other end of the court, Jessica Benson and Rachel Moen benefitted, scoring a combined 19 points in the second half. Benson led her team with 17 points in the game.
Valley City, meanwhile, couldn't get scorers to finish consistently.
Brittany Lehner had nine points in the first half as part of a combined post effort with Alyssa Hummel, but scored only one more in the second half.
Only one VCSU player, Kelsey Hunter, finished with more than two points in the second half, in which the Vikings were outscored 38-18.
But the start wasn't bad.
The Vikings used an array of players to get on the board and trail 8-6 early. Though the huskies found flurries of points, the Vikings kept it from getting out of hand, working a 10-point deficit back to a six point deficit.
Then, in the last two minutes, the Vikings went on a got seven points to end the half down 32-27.