The State Fair Lady Roadrunners got off to a slow start Tuesday against MCC-Penn Valley at the Fred E. David Multipurpose Center, but SFCC started forcing turnovers and making shots to pull away with a 72-48 win.
Rebounding, fouls and open misses kept the game close in the first quarter.
After SFCC took a 5-0 lead, Penn Valley’s Ashley O’Neal knocked in a 3-pointer from the right wing and Mia Cushon got a second-chance bucket to tie it up. O’Neal had 19 points and Cushon added 11.
“That’s going to be our nemesis I think all year,” Lady Roadrunners head coach Kevin Bucher said of rebounding. “We’re not big enough.”
Fouls then became the issue with Penn Valley scoring six of its 11 first quarter points at the free throw line.
Leading 14-11 after the first quarter, Zhanesha Dickerson got going for SFCC.
She scored the first six points of the second quarter with a second-chance bucket inside the paint and two other inside buckets in a 25-second span. She ended up with 10 points.
SFCC extended its lead to 10 with 6:36 remaining in the half when Danae’ Cole stole the ball and Alexis Cowan got a layup and a foul. Cowan knocked down the free throw to make it 25-15.
Rebounding was an issue for SFCC in the first quarter, but the Lady Roadrunners got two offensive boards in one possession and led to a pair of free throws for Cowan to give them a 34-16 lead with 2:56 remaining in the first half.
SFCC outscored Penn Valley 22-5 in the first seven minutes of the second quarter.
With 14 seconds remaining in the first half, Mary Ware pulled down an offensive rebound and scored and old-fashioned three-point play to give SFCC a 40-21 halftime lead.
Thelma “TuTu” Williams scored nine of her 14 points in the final four minutes of the third quarter.
She converted a three-point play to give SFCC a 49-26 lead with 3:57 remaining in the third quarter.
She added a layup on a fast break, a jumper and two free throws to help SFCC take a 59-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“She took some really good shots, easy buckets,” Bucher said. “She’s very crafty going to the hole and we need that.”
SFCC got 10 points from bench players Cole and Cowan.
“It’s hard to pick who to start,” Bucher said. “It’s not who starts, it’s who finishes the game.”
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.