Box Score Recap
(RV)Valley City State
(21)Dickinson State University
VCSU celebrates its win over Dickinson State on Friday night.
VCSU celebrates its win over Dickinson State on Friday night.
Women's Basketball - Fri, Feb. 24, 2017
Valley City State1721181571
Dickinson State Universit1214202167
Feb. 24, 2017
Dickinson, ND
Valley City StateIndv. LeadersDickinson State Universit
#15 Hannah Schlecht - 23Points #3 Lorna Shepherd - 18
#15 Hannah Schlecht - 8Rebounds #23 Megan Klein - 13
#13 Lexi Lennon - 4Assists #15 Taylor Henningsgard - 10
Valley City StateTeam StatisticsDickinson State Universit
37.7% (23 - 61) Field Goals % 38.6% (22 - 57)
23.8% (5 - 21) 3 Point Field Goals % 28.6% (4 - 14)
71.4% (20 - 28) Free Throws 86.4% (19 - 22)
42Rebounds 35
13Assists 12
12Turnovers 9
162nd Chance Pts 12

DICKINSON, N.D. – Friday was sophomore night in Dickinson. With Valley City State's leading scorers locked down in the NSAA semifinals, it was a pair of sophomores who led the Vikings to a huge road victory and a spot in the NSAA championship game.

Hannah Schlecht and Alli Vandal combined to score 45 points Friday as the Vikings built a second-half double-digit lead and held on in the final seconds for a 71-67 win over the Blue Hawks. Schlecht sank four 3's and poured in a career-high 23 points, and Vandal went 14-for-16 at the free throw line as part of a 22-point night.

Valley City State (24-6, 13-3 NSAA) ties a school record with its 24th win of the season and advances to the NSAA Tournament championship game Sunday at 2 p.m. in Jamestown. VCSU will face top-seeded University of Jamestown, which defeated Mayville State on Friday night, 69-54. The Vikings defeated Jamestown in the regular season finale, 75-70 in overtime, as the teams split their two regular season meetings.

Schlecht's fourth 3 of the night Friday gave the Vikings their biggest lead of the game, 63-50 with 6:26 remaining. The Blue Hawks, ranked No. 21 in the country, would not go quietly on their home court. Buoyed by Viking mistakes, the Blue Hawks climbed back to within 66-64 with 29 seconds left. Two big offensive rebounds after missed free throws saved the Vikings over the next 15 seconds, and then Vandal iced the game by going 4-for-4 at the line in the final 14 seconds.

Schlecht added a team-high eight rebounds and VCSU senior guard Sara Schwanke had her best game since returning from injury, dropping 10 points off the bench.

"All year we have had different kids step up and be difference makers, and tonight was no different," said VCSU head coach Jill DeVries. "Hannah (Schlecht) hit big shots, as well as Sara (Schwanke). I'm so proud of this group. They just keep working and finding ways."

Valley City State leading scorer Georgia Williams battled foul trouble all night and was held to just one point. VCSU's second leading scorer, Lexi Lennon, finished with nine points, six rebounds and four assists.

Valley City State withstood the game's initial run by the Blue Hawks, who came out fired up in front of their home crowd and built an 8-1 lead. Unlike last year's semifinal game in Dickinson, the Vikings kept their cool and stemmed the tide. Trailing 12-5 with 5:52 remaining, the Vikings held the Blue Hawks scoreless the rest of the period and ripped off a 12-0 run to close the quarter with a 17-12 lead they would never relinquish.

The second quarter belonged to the Vikings, who never trailed in the period and outscored to Blue Hawks 21-14 en route to a 38-26 halftime lead. The Vikings again won the last few minutes of the period, outscoring Dickinson 10-2 over the final 3:15 and capping the run with back-to-back 3's by Schlecht and Lennon.

The Vikings held a 56-46 lead after three quarters, and built it up to 63-50 before the Blue Hawks made their last-gasp run.

Neither team shot especially well. The Vikings finished at 38 percent from the field (23-61), 24 percent on 3's (5-21) and 71 percent at the line (20-28). Schlecht, Vandal and Schwanke combined to shot 18-for-34 overall, and Schlecht went 4-for-9 on 3's.

Dickinson State finished at 39 percent overall (22-57), 29 percent on 3's (4-14) and 86 percent at the line (19-22). Lorna Shepherd had 18 points to lead the Blue Hawks. Dickinson's five starters all reached double figures and scored all 67 of the team's points.

VCSU held a 42-35 advantage in rebounds, including a 16-10 edge on the offensive glass.

Up next: Valley City State (24-7, 13-3 NSAA) will play at Jamestown in the NSAA Championship on Sunday at 2 p.m. The winner earns the conference's automatic bid to nationals. Dickinson State (23-7, 14-2 NSAA) must now wait to see if it has done enough to earn an at-large bid to the national tournament.