ABERDEEN, S.D. -- Five players scored at least nine points as the Bellevue University women's basketball team recorded a 61-51 victory at Presentation College Saturday evening in North Star Athletic Association play at the Strode Center.
The win kept the Bruins' hope of a regular-season conference championship alive, as BU improved to 19-9 overall and 10-3 in the NSAA. Presentation fell to 11-16 on the season and 6-7 in league play. The Bruins are a 1/2 game behind league-leader Mayville State in the conference standings with one game remaining in the regular season.
Laura Jurek led the Bruins with 11 points, six rebounds, and two assists. Elexis Martinez added 10 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Faith Ross registered 10 points and six boards and Jamie Winkler finished with 10 points and four assists. Shayla Dean contributed with nine points and was 3-of-4 from behind the arc including two critical triples in the final quarter to help thwart the Saint's comeback attempt.
Victoria Stewart paced the Saints with 11 points and a pair of assists and Tone Oglesby added nine points and three rebounds.
After the Saints scored the first six points of the contest, BU battled back to force a tie at 16-all after the opening 10 minutes. Winkler led BU in the first quarter with five points while Morgan Cuffe added four. The Saints shot 42.9 percent in the opening quarter led by Oglesby's six points on 3-of-4 shooting.
The Bruins used a nine-point run to open the second quarter, holding the Saints scoreless for over seven minutes, as BU built a 25-16 advantage. PC responded with a 6-2 run to close the half as the Bruins took a 27-22 lead into the intermission.
Winkler led BU in the opening half with 10 points and an assist. She was the only Bruin to score over four points in the first half. Jada Campbell and Oglesby both scored six points to pace the Saints in the opening 20 minutes.
Ross nailed three-straight free throws following a flagrant foul by Oglesby to give BU a double-digit lead at 36-25 with 5:54 left in the third frame. The Bruins maintained an 11-point advantage until PC scored the final four points of the quarter as BU took a 43-36 lead heading into the final quarter.
A pair of free throws by Oglesby drew the Saints to within five points and a 3-point play by Allison Cox made it a two-point game at 49-47 at the 4:47 mark.
Dean halted the PC momentum, draining a pair of 3-pointers to expand the BU margin to seven points at 55-48 at the 3:38 mark. A triple by Jurek pushed the Bruin lead back to double digits at 58-48 with three minutes remaining in the game. The Bruins hit four free throws in the final two minutes to preserve the 61-51 victory.
The Bruins return home next Saturday, Feb. 16, to conclude the regular season with a 3 p.m. contest against Dakota State University at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center. Bellevue's three seniors, Shanae Collins, Morgan Cuffe, and Shayla Dean will all be honored following the contest.