PARK HILLS, Mo. -- Vincennes University's women whittled a double-digit first-half deficit down to two in the third quarter, but host Mineral Area pushed the lead back to 10 by the end of the period and ran away late for a 78-55 basketball victory on Wednesday.

Jaynice Stovall scored 20 to pace the Lady Trailblazers (8-4), who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Fess Hawkins added 10 points and seven rebounds, while Cristina De La Cruz scored nine. Natalia Lalic led the Cardinals (8-3) with 25 points.

"We just got off to a horrendous start. We're going to have to learn to get off to faster starts and learn how to play on the road," VU coach Harry Meeks said.

See VU/Page B3

The Blazers started in a 10-3 hole and fell behind, 22-10, after one quarter. De La Cruz scored seven in a row in the second period to give VU some momentum, and her buzzer-beating layup made it a 40-31 halftime deficit.

"She stepped up and stopped the bleeding for us there in the second," Meeks said. "But that's how she plays. She plays hard and gives you everything she has. That was about the only spark of the game. I probably should have played her more."

The teams traded buckets to start the third period, but after six straight free throws by Stovall, the Blazers cut the margin to 45-43 with 4:28 to play. VU struggled to score after that however, managing just four more points in the quarter, and the Cardinals took their lead back up to 57-47.

The lead grew to 63-49 before Meeks was called for a technical foul at the six-minute mark. Mineral Area netted both free throws as part of an 8-0 run to take the lead to 71-49. VU scored just one more field goal the rest of the way.

"We had four straight possessions (in the third) where we could have tied it up, but we missed three layups," Meeks said. "I don't think they're a better team than we are. They just had more juice than us in the second half. This is a tough place to play, but we were just horrendous shooting 3s. You're not going to win any games shooting like that. We have to get tougher on the road and learn to take better care of the basketball."

VU shot 31 percent (19-of-62) and just 20 percent (5-of-25) from beyond the 3-point line.

The Blazers visit Kaskaskia, Ill., for a District P game at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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