PARK HILLS – A tall task awaited the Mineral Area College Lady Cardinals on Wednesday as they hosted a talented Jefferson College squad at the Bob Sechrest, Sr. Fieldhouse.
The Lady Vikings, ranked 13th nationally, made themselves at home with a pair of 13-0 scoring runs in the first half, and coasted to their 15th consecutive victory in a 81-41 rout.
The injury-plagued Lady Cardinals suited up seven players, but rotated only six throughout much of the action. Freshman Erica Anderson started the game, but played less than three minutes due to an ailing hamstring.
Jefferson (25-2) forced 20 turnovers on defense and placed four scorers in double-figures, led by sophomore Samie Jo Wesley with 19 points. The Lady Vikings are a perfect 8-0 in Region XVI play with two games remaining, while the Lady Cardinals have fallen to 0-7.
MAC (12-13) started out slowly on offense with turnovers in each of their first three possessions. Jefferson passed the ball around quickly, leading to open jumpers along the perimeter. Three-pointers from Wesley and Malagorzata Flaga highlighted a 13-0 Lady Viking run to open the contest.
The first two MAC baskets were scored on offensive putbacks by Alycea Wallace and Robin Sane, but the Lady Cardinals struggled with their jump shots in the first half.
A three-point play by Korby Lathrop and three straight baskets by Ashley Haegele extended the margin to 34-8. The Lady Cardinals countered with a three-pointer by Sane and a lob pass to Melissa Pollard for two points, but entered halftime with a 49-17 deficit.
Alycea Wallace gave MAC the first basket out of the locker room with a steal and layup. Wallace played a strong second half and finished the night with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
A triple from Sarah Dieteker and four straight points from Anna Brisso brought the Lady Cardinals to within 52-28, but Wesley responded by burying her second three of the night.
A jumper by Sommer McCauley increased the spread to 66-32 mid-way through the half, and Haegele scored five straight points during a 9-0 run down the stretch.
“We came out flat, and they shot the ball as we expected,” said MAC coach Lana LaBruyere. “They have three of the top five three-point shooters in the nation.”
McCauley, Haegele and Lathrop chipped in 11 points each for Jefferson, which made 23-27 free throw attempts.
Sane scored nine points and Brisso added eight for the Lady Cardinals.
Mineral Area will host rival Three Rivers at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the first game of a women’s and men’s double-header.
Jefferson – 17 24 – 41
Mineral Area – 49 32 – 81
Jefferson – S Wesley 19, K Lathrop 11, A Haegele 11, S McCauley 11, M Flaga 8, E Mukosiej 8, B Cheeks 7, S Hopkins 4, K Thiesenhusen 2.
3-pointers – S Wesley 2, M Flaga 2, B Cheeks 2.
Mineral Area – A Wallace 15, R Sane 9, A Brisso 8, S Dieteker 5, E Hankins 2, M Pollard 2.
3-pointers – S Dieteker 1, R Sane 1.