BURNSVILLE, MN -- The Augustana women's basketball team was picked to finish fourth overall and fourth in the South Division in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll.

The Vikings earned 175 points and one first place vote in the overall conference poll.

The University of Sioux Falls picked up 107 points, good for 11th place overall.

Concordia-St. Paul is the favorite to win the NSIC, earning a total of 217 points and 10 first place votes.  Minnesota State-Mankato was second with 214 points and five first place votes.

The Golden Bears were also picked to win the South Division with 48 points and seven first place votes.  Augustana was fourth with 33 points and USF fifth with 22 points.

St. Cloud State is the favorite to win the North Division, earning 46 points and four first place votes.

Augustana's Emily Schulte was named one of the "Players to Watch" in the NSIC in 2013-14. The Sioux Falls native started all 35 games during the Vikings NCAA Final Four run.  She was named NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament Most Valuable Player as she recorded 74 points, 17 rebounds, 14 assists, and nine steals in the four games.  She led the Vikings in steals with 74 and dished out 126 assists, second on the team, and ranked seventh in the conference with a 1.39 assist-to-turnover ratio. She averaged 10.1 points, third on team, and 3.4 rebounds in 28.8 minutes per game. She shot 36.4 percent from the field, 31.9 percent from three, and 85.4 percent from the free throw line while scoring a career-high 21 points, including career-best 10-10 from the free throw line, at U-Mary on March 2 in second round of NSIC Tournament.  She sank three 3-pointers and scored 11 points and recorded four assists in Augustana's win over No. 1 and previously unbeaten Clayton State on March 26.

The Cougars' “Player to Watch” is senior forward Laura Johnson.  The Cedar Falls, IA native started every game for the Cougars during her junior season and averaged 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 blocks per contest while scoring double-digits in 19 of the Cougars’ 27 games.  Johnson ended the year ranked in the NSIC's top-10 in six statistical categories. Her 35.44 minutes per game average was second only to Katie Wolff of Winona State (35.65) and she finished third in defensive rebounds per game (6.93). She ended the year shooting 86.8 percent from the free throw line, fourth-best in the NSIC and a new USF single-season record. She also stood sixth in three-point field goal percentage at 42.6 percent, tied for sixth in blocked shots per contest (1.11) and seventh in three-point field goals made (60). In her career at USF, she has scored 966 points and shoots 36.7 percent from behind the arc. She also is 25 made three-point shots away from becoming the USF career leader in 3-point shots made.

Augustana opens the season on November 16, hosting Jamestown College at the Elmen Center.  The Vikings begin NSIC play on November 25 at Wayne State.

Sioux Falls' season gets underway on November 15 at the Stewart Center against the College of St. Mary.  The Cougars begin conference play November 30 at home against Southwest Minnesota State.

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