Shaunteva Ashley was the highlight in a 97-93 Augustana win over Upper Iowa in a high-scoring affair on Friday night in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play. The Vikings improved to 15-10 (11-10 NSIC) with the victory, while the Peacocks dropped to 5-20 (4-17 NSIC) with the loss.
The win clinched a first-round home game for Augustana in the NSIC Tournament next Wednesday.
Ashley led the way with a game and career-high 34 points, becoming the first Augustana player to score at least 30 points since Molly Hayes back in 2011 in the victory. The former Roosevelt High standout poured in 22 points after halftime.
Emily Schulte chipped in with 15 points, including hitting three 3-pointers for the Vikings. Schulte also had four rebounds and three assists.
Katie Meister provided a big spark for Augustana with 14 points and seven rebounds. Meister finished the night going 7 of 9 from the field.
Whitney Kieffer's 23 points were a team high for Upper Iowa. Kieffer did her damage early in the second half, scoring 11 of her 14 second-half points within the first five minutes after halftime.
Lauren Buck notched a double-double in the loss with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Vikings finished up the game shooting a sweet 56.3 percent (56.3 percent), just the third time this year they have accomplished the feat.
Augustana, showing no signs of fatigue after a long bus ride on Friday morning, took an early 9-8 lead at the first media timeout after a pair of back-to-back layups from Ashley.
Hot shooting by both teams early, a trend that continued for the rest of the half, resulted in a 29-25 Viking lead at the 9:01 mark. Schulte had eight of her 11 first-half points in the first 10 minutes.
Each team continued to trade baskets out of the under-10 media timeout for the next few minutes, leading to a 37-37 tie at with 3:52 remaining in the half.
A Lindsay Carroll 3-pointer coming out of the final media timeout gave the Peacocks the lead at 40-37 at 3:18. It was Carroll's second made three of the contest from the left wing.
The high-scoring first half came to an end with Augustana outscoring Upper Iowa 13-8 over the final 2:25 of the first half to take a 50-48 lead into the break.
The Vikings shot a blistering 63.3 percent (19 of 30) in the first half to score at least 50 points in a half for the ninth time this year.
Neither team could make a big run in the first half to build momentum as neither team was able to get a lead of more than six points.
Thrapp had her offense going in the first half with 12 points and three assists for UIU.
Back-and-forth action continued coming out of halftime as both teams continued to make shots. Upper Iowa held a 63-61 lead at the under-15 media timeout. Kieffer scored 11 points in the just over the first five minutes to start the half for the Peacocks.
Upper Iowa secured a five-point lead at 68-63 after a Laura TerHawk three capped off a 9-2 Peacock run.
UIU pushed its lead to nine on a pair of made free throws by Thrapp, giving her 18 in the game and the Peacocks a 74-65 lead with 11:43 to go in the game.
Augustana fought its way back into the game using a 9-2 to cut Upper Iowa's lead to two at 76-74 after a Nicole Kerkhoff layup.
The Vikings retook the lead at 80-78 after Meister's jumper gave her 12 points in the contest with 6:58 left.
Ashley continued her offensive assault, scoring her 30th point with a layup at the 5:43 mark that put Augustana up 84-82. The Sioux Falls, S.D. native's ability to get to the rim was the key role in the second half as Upper Iowa had no one who could keep the junior from getting to the rim.
The Peacocks would get at as close as three after Carly Pagel made two free throws, lowering the Vikings lead to four at 92-88 with 1:45 left, but couldn't muster up any stops late and were forced to foul to extend the game.
A Riley Nordgaard made free throw late sealed it for Augustana, making it a two-possession game with eight seconds left as the Vikings would win 97-93.
The will to win
Despite getting down by as much as nine in the second half, Augustana just refused to let this one slip away and outscored Upper Iowa 32-19 in the final 11:19 of the game.
The Vikings take on Winona State tomorrow at 4 p.m. at McCown Gymnasium. Augustana won the last meeting earlier this year 80-71 on February 7th.
Courtesy: Tim Evans, Sports Information Director, Augustana College