Augustana started a little slow, but took complete control five minutes in on the way to a 79-62 win over No. 17 Northern State on Senior Day. The Vikings improved to 14-10 and 10-10 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play. The Wolves fell to 19-5 (15-5 NSIC) with the loss.
Augustana put on a dominating display of defense in the win, forcing NSU into a season-high 25 turnovers. The Vikings took full advantage of the extra possessions, scoring 34 points off turnovers, the deciding factor in the game.
Augustana was led by Riley Nordgaard, who scored a game-high 21 points and had seven steals in the victory. Shaunteva Ashley finished with 19 points and six assists in the game.
The Vikings' two seniors Emily Schulte and Katie Meister wrapped up their last home game in style on Saturday. Schulte finished with eight points on the day, putting her over 1,000 points in her career. Meister made her first collegiate start in her career down in the post, scoring eight points and pulling down four rebounds in the win. Both played big roles on defense and gave the Wolves' offense fits all afternoon.
Northern State's Megan Mutchler led the Wolves with 18 points and seven boards. Rachel Krogman chipped in with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Senior day got underway with Northern State jumping out to a 6-0 lead before Schulte drained a three at the top of the key to put the Vikings on the board, putting her over 1,000 points in her career. The former O'Gorman High School star became the 29th player in team history with at least 1,000 points.
A nice up-and-under layup by Schulte coming out of the under 15-minute media timeout tied the game up at 12 apiece. The basket was part of a 7-0 Augustana run in just a 1:22 span of time.
A 3-pointer by Nordgaard in transition put the Vikings up 24-20 at the 9:20 mark in the first half, while giving the sophomore her fifth point of the contest. It was the fourth made deep ball from beyond the arc for Augustana.
Short-corner jumper by Nordgaard with 5:04 remaining in the first half put the Vikings up in double digits for the first time at 33-22. The Canby, Minn. native really had it going in the first 20 minutes, scoring her 10th point in the half with the make.
Augustana really had the touch in the first half, going 6 of 15 from deep (40 percent) while finding a good mix of mid-range jumpers to keep the Wolves off their guard on defense.
Terrific ball movement and control allowed for the Vikings to take a 38-30 lead into the break against Northern State. Nordgaard was the star of the first half with 12 points, four rebounds, and three steals in the half.
The stat of the half was Augustana finishing the half with only two turnovers, while forcing the Wolves into 12. The result was a 15-0 advantage in points off of turnovers against the normally sure-handed Northern State squad.
A couple of early turnovers to didn't deter the Vikings to start the second half, as Augustana used some pressure of its own to continue to force NSU into early turnovers as well, leading to a 48-39 Viking lead at the 14:15 mark.
Augustana pushed its lead out to 15, as part of a 14-5 run, after Ashley connected on a deep three from the left wing. The basket gave high-scoring guard her ninth point of the afternoon.
The Vikings' defense continued its all-out assault on the Wolves, holding them to just 36.4 shooting (4 of 11) to start the half. Northern State struggled getting any good looks in the paint and initiating its offense.
The Wolves found themselves down 10 at the under 10-minute media timeout after a Mutchler jumper gave her 18 in the game and capped off a 7-0 run for NSU, making the score 56-46 in favor of Augustana.
Things got interesting after a technical foul by head coach Curt Fredrickson allowed for Ashley to score four points from the foul line and put the Vikings back up by 13 with 8:40 left.
A long three by Ashley, giving her 18 on the day, with 5:44 left kept the Viking momentum alive while applying more pressure on Northern State, putting Augustana up 67-54.
The Vikings finally delivered the knockout blow at the 2:58 mark on an Alex Kneeland three from the right wing. Kneeland's three put Augustana up 74-56 and gave the freshman eight points in the game.
The Vikings would go on to win 79-62 over the Wolves.
No senioritis in these two
Schulte and Meister, in their final regular season home game, put their defensive stamp this game early. The senior duo combined for 16 points on offense and sparked the Augustana defense into completely overwhelming Northern State's offense on the day.
• The Vikings forced NSU in a season-high 25 turnovers.
• Augustana has now won at least 11 home games every year since joining the NSIC.
• Nordgaard's seven steals were one short of her career high set last season.
• The Vikings are now 7-0 when making at least 10 threes in a game this year.
• Augustana's 23 rebounds tonight were a new season low.
• Ashley has now scored at least 16 points in 12-straight games now.
• Nordgaard recorded her fifth game this year with at least 20 points in the win.
The Vikings close out the regular season on the road against Upper Iowa and Winona State. Augustana will face Upper Iowa on Friday night at 6 p.m. The Vikings will then head to Rochester, Minn. to play Winona State on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the regular season finale.
Courtesy: Chris Smith, Assistant Sports Information Director, Augustana College