MASON CITY - The work ethic that Marshalltown Community College women's basketball coach Alison Lacey has been longing for is no longer the problem.
Maintaining the effort for a full 40 minutes - therein lies the rub.
The MCC Tigers took to the road for the fourth straight game on Wednesday night and fell 75-65 to NIACC in the ICCAC Division II opener for both teams.
Chelsey Jacox scored a season-high 21 points to lead the Trojans (6-5, 1-0), who have won five of their last six and three straight overall. Lateeka Thompson added 16 points, Kadejah Young had 11 and Jessica Rogers 10.
"I think our work ethic has improved a lot," Lacey said following Wednesday's loss. "They're working hard but they're getting tired, and that's when we're making poor decisions and we'll have a 5- or 10-minute lapse."
Lacey said those mental mistakes proved critical in Wednesday's setback as the Tigers (3-6, 0-1) were tagged for 34 turnovers.
Mackenzie Gott led the Tigers in scoring for the second game in a row, recording 19 points to go with 11 rebounds. Latrice McMullen had 14 points and 19 rebounds, while Mady Van Metre tallied 11 points and 10 boards.
MCC's five-game road swing to close out the first half of the season takes the Tigers to Fort Dodge Saturday for a 1 p.m. showdown with Iowa Central (7-3, 0-1).