The Valley City State University womens basketball team had a slower start than coach Jill DeVries would have liked.
In the first ten minutes of Sunday's 74-65 home win over Johnson and Wales (Colo.) University, the Vikings only hit two shots from the floor, despite leading 10-9.
But, DeVries said, the intentions were good.
"We've given up so many points in the first half that we really focused on the defensive end and the truth of the matter is that you've got to make lay ups," DeVries said. "We're going as hard as we can on the defensive end and going too fast for ourselves on the offensive end and didn't finish."
But once things got rolling for the Vikings, they had few problems the rest of the way.
For the rest of the half, they kept Johnson and Wales out of the paint and took a run to go up 26-15 with 2:10 left on a 3-pointer by Sierra Even.
The women were up 34-22 by halftime.
The biggest issue the Vikings had was defending against the potent 3-point shooters from Johnson and Wales.
The shooters finished 4-12 in the first half and hurt even more in the second, when they went 6-13 to finish the game 40 percent from beyond the arc.
"Those kids are very dangerous," DeVries said.
The 3-pointers accounted for Johnson and Wales' first six points in the second half and kept the game within reach.
Several minutes in, Wildcats forward Jasmine Culbreath hit a 3-pointer to make it 46-34.
The shot paved the way for a 16-2 run to narrow Valley City's lead to a single point. But the Vikings got play from Katelyn Ralston and Courtney Titus, who drove the lane to get lay ups and fouls.
Similar to the opening minutes, the Vikings racked up free throws late in the game to push the lead. They also had key shots from Titus, Allison Scherr and Stephanie Pederson in the final five as they worked the lead back to the final nine-point difference.
Johnson and Wales narrowed the lead to 70-65 with 43.4 seconds left on a lay up by Caitlin Durkin, but were hurt by a foul call with 9.9 second left.
The intentional foul on Pederson was the fifth for Nicole Paradisa and forced her to leave the game.
The Wildcats substituted Catherine Loppe, who was not in the official score book, which led to a technical foul on the team's bench.
The Vikings hit all four free throws to secure the win.
Ralston led VCSU with 17 points, Titus had 12, and Brittany Lehner had 10.
Johnson and Wales was led by Kourtney Shirley with 28, Caitlin Durkin with 12 and Jasmine Culbreath with 10.