Concordia-St. Paul's Anika Whiting and Rachel Hansen proved to be too much as the No. 25 Golden Bears defeated the No. 10 Vikings 71-69 on Friday in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play, denying head coach Dave Krauth his 500th career win. Augustana fell to 6-2 (2-2 NSIC) with the loss, while Concordia-St. Paul improved to 8-3 (3-1 NSIC) on the year.
Hansen and Whiting would each have big nights in the win. Hansen nearly recorded a triple-double with 18 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Whiting had her second double-double of the year with a season-high 25 points and 10 rebounds.
The Vikings were led by Rhianna Gullickson. The Alexandria, S.D. native had a career-high 21 points on eight-of-13 shooting. Gullickson also had six rebounds.
Things got going early for the Vikings, with Riley Nordgaard and Rhianna Gullickson coming out strong, scoring Augustana's first nine points, and giving the Golden Bears issues on the perimeter.
The Vikings would push their lead out to six after Concordia-St. Paul head coach Paul Fessler got a technical at the 11:20 mark in the first half on a Emily Schulte and-one layup. Schulte converted the technical free throw, putting Augustana up 19-13.
The Golden Bears fought their way back into the game on the post presence of reigning NSIC Player of the Year Whiting and Hansen. Concordia-St. Paul cut the lead to one with a quick 8-3 run in just under two minutes, with Hansen scoring four straight for the Golden Bears.
The Vikings would answer right back with their own 8-0 run, putting Augustana up 30-21 with just over five minutes remaining in the half, highlighted by back-to-back three pointers by Hayley McCarron and Gullickson.
Augustana would take a 37-29 lead into halftime. The Vikings shot 41.2 percent (14 of 34) in the first half, highlighted by Gullickson's career-high 16 points in the first half on six-of-eight shooting. Whiting led the Concordia-St. Paul with 16 points in the half, putting her over 1000 points for her career, on five-of-11 shooting (45.4 percent).
Despite the effectiveness of Whiting, the Vikings defense forced the rest of the Golden Bears into an abysmal 18.8 percent (four of 22) from the field in the half. The Vikings did have a 25-18 rebounding advantage at the break.
McCarron also chipped in nine points in the first half.
The second started with both teams trading baskets till the first media timeout. Sophie Kenney came off the bench and contributed a big block, and big steal in a span of 90 seconds. Kenney would convert the layup after the successful steal attempt, giving Augustana a 49-41 lead.
The Golden Bears would use a 13-2 run to take their first lead of the game at 54-51 on a Whiting three ball, giving the junior 25 points, a new season high.
The Vikings responded with a 10-2 of their own, giving them a 64-58 lead with 5:51 remaining. Shaunteva Ashley scored four points for Augustana during the run.
Concordia-St. Paul would really turn up the defense in the final 5:51, using a 13-5 run to secure the victory. The Vikings would make one field goal during the stretch, a Gullickson three-point make with seven seconds remaining.
Augustana would foul to force the Golden Bears to make free throws. Carissa Wolyniec made the first attempt but missed the second and the Vikings grabbed the board. Schulte would heave up a last-second desperation shot from just inside half court that would come up short.
Finding their shot
Concordia-St. Paul shot a dreadful 27.3 percent (nine of 33) in the first half. The second half saw the Golden Bears shoot an impressive 59.3 percent (16 of 27) from the field.
• Gullickson's 21 points were a career high.
• Ashley's six rebounds tie a season high.
• The Vikings' 12 turnovers were a season low.
• Augustana's 24 percent (six of 25) from beyond the arc was a season low.
• McCarron's 11 points gave the freshman her second double-digit scoring game of the season.
• The Vikings are now 4-2 when leading at the half.
Augustana is back in action on Saturday to take on No. 13 Minnesota State (6-2, 3-1 NSIC). Game is set to tip 4 p.m. at the Elmen Center.
Courtesy: Chris Smith, Assistant Sports Information Director, Augustana College