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Vikings Can’t Overcome Cougars’ Long-Range Shooting In Loss

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SIOUX FALLS, SD — Augustana couldn’t find its shot, while Sioux Falls couldn’t miss on Friday night, winning 84-72 over the Vikings in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play.  Augustana fell to 10-7 (6-7 NSIC) on the year with the loss.  The Cougars’ victory improved their record to 10-7 (6-7 NSIC).

The Vikings couldn’t match the shooting performance of Sioux Falls, whose 14 made 3-pointers were one off its season high, and the most that an opponent has made against Augustana this year helped propel USF to its first win in series since Nov. 15, 2011.  For the game, the Cougars shot 45.3 percent (29 of 64).

The Vikings, on the other hand, have struggled to connect with their shots during this three-game losing streak, their longest of the year.  Augustana went 26 of 72 (36.1 percent).  The Vikings are now 1-6 when shooting under 40 percent this season.

Emily Schulte and Shaunteva Ashley led the way for Augustana with 19 points each.  Schulte also tied her career high with seven steals, while Ashley dished out a season-high seven assists in the loss.  Rhianna Gullickson contributed with 14 points and six rebounds.

Sam Knecht powered USF from the inside with 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.  Laura Johnson and Taylor Varsho each poured in 18 points on a combined 10-of-24 shooting for the Cougars.

Things got underway with Sioux Falls attacking the paint and getting two quick scores from Knecht on the inside.  The baskets were part of a 13-4 run to start the game for the Cougars.  Varsho highlighted the run after that, drilling three 3-pointers from the outside within the first four minutes.

Sioux Falls pushed its lead to seven coming out the first media timeout on a Johnson layup, which triggered a quick 6-0 run by USF within a minute of play after the timeout.

An Alex Kneeland layup that drew a foul, put the Vikings down 24-12 at the 9:39 mark in the first half going into the second media timeout.  Kneeland would convert the free throw opportunity coming out the break.

The Cougars would connect on two threes – their fourth and fifth of the game already – after that as part of a 12-5 run that put them up 36-18 with 6:53 remaining in the half.
Augustana would again struggle to find its shot in the first half, going just 8 of 23 (34.8 percent) to start the contest.  Meanwhile, Sioux Falls came out smoking, connecting on 14 of its first 27 shots (51.9 percent).

A banked-in 3-pointer by Alex Kneeland sparked a 10-0 run for the Vikings that cut the Cougars’ lead to 10 at 41-33 with 3:35 remaining until halftime.  Kneeland scored five of her eight first-half points during the run.

Augustana would go into the half trailing 47-36 to USF.

The Vikings had issues containing the Cougars – especially Knecht – on the boards in the first half, getting outrebounded 25 to 19.  Knecht grabbed 13 of her 17 rebounds in the first half.

Augustana found their way back to a respectable 40.6 percent shooting in the half (13 of 32), while getting Sioux Falls down to 43.2 percent (16 of 38).

The second half got underway with the Vikings able to force three quick turnovers, resulting in them getting the running game going.  Augustana used a 16-8 run in the first five minutes of the half get back in the game at down three at 55-52 at the 14:47 mark.

The Vikings started off the second half hot, going 7 for 11 (63.6 percent) before heading into the first media timeout in the second half.

The Cougars responded with a 13-4 run coming out of the media timeout, highlighted by two more threes by USF, pushing their lead to 10 at 70-57 with 10:22 left.

Augustana worked its way back into the game midway through the second half, using a 9-0 run to cut the Cougars’ lead to 4 at 70-66 with 6:02 remaining.  Unfortunately, it would be the closest that the Vikings would get the rest of the game.

Sioux Falls closed the game out on a 12-4 run, largely due to the Vikings having to foul to extend the game.  The Cougars coverted their free throws, winning 84-70.

Augustana again struggled from beyond the arc, going 7 of 32 (21.9 percent).  The Vikings are now 1-3 this season when they fire up more than 30 threes in a game.

The Vikings look to snap their three-game losing streak against Southwest Minnesota State (3-14, 1-12 NSIC).

Augustana Men Roll To Regular Season Sweep Over USF

Courtesy:  Augustana College

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