No. 10 Augustana overcame a sluggish start to record its first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win of the year in an 81-60 win over Southwest Minnesota State on Friday. With the victory, the Vikings improved to 5-1 (1-1 NSIC), while the Mustangs fell to 2-4 (0-2 NSIC) on the season.
Shaunteva Ashley waited until late in the first half to get her night going, but did she ever get it going. The junior finished with season highs in points (21) and assists (six). Ashley shot nine for 16 in the game, going two of five from beyond the arc.
Augustana got off to a slow start, getting down 7-2 early to Southwest Minnesota State. The Mustangs were able to get the ball inside to Alison Nagel, who scored a quick four points in the paint.
The Vikings would answer quickly with an 8-0 run of their own in just under three minutes early in the half to take a 10-7 lead.
Southwest Minnesota State would counter with their own 7-0 run - a trend that would continue throughout the half - led by a big Nagel three pointer, pushing the lead to 20-16.
The Vikings would take the half over, especially Ashley, in the final 7:24, going on a 21-6 run to end the half. Ashley would score all 14 of her first-half points during the run. The Sioux Falls, S.D. native put in the final 10 points for Augustana, taking a 37-28 lead into the break.
The Vikings shot an impressive 13 for 27 (48.1%) in the half, including going five of 11 from three. Emily Schulte contributed with eight points and four assists. The backcourt tandem of Ashley and Schulte combined for five steals in the first half.
Nagel and Bree Holleman combined for 17 of the Mustangs 28 points in the half. Nagel would connect on four-of-seven shooting from the field.
Southwest Minnesota State was limited to just 32.1% shooting in the half from a stout Augustana defense, which also forced 12 turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play.
The second half took on a different feel to the game than the first, with each team trading baskets with each other for the majority of the half.
The Vikings would finally pull away with 8:54 remaining on an Alex Kneeland jumper, sparking a 15-4 run that put Augustana up 71-52 over the Mustangs would just over four minutes remaining.
The Vikings would never drop below a double-digit lead after that, winning 81-60.
Came in the second half on Kneeland's jumper at 8:54. The basket started a 15-4 run for Augustana that put them up 71-52 late in the game. The Vikings would never go below a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.
• Riley Nordgaard had a season-high nine rebounds.
• Southwest Minnesota State was forced into a season-high 21 turnovers.
• The Vikings 47.7% shooting tonight is a new season high.
• Nicole Kerkhoff ties her season high in points with seven.
• Augustana goes to 4-0 when four players score 10 or more points in a game.
• The Vikings tie a season high by scoring 28 points off turnovers.
• Ashley's 21 points tonight give her three 20-point games in her career.
Augustana plays rival Sioux Falls (5-1) on Saturday at the Stewart Center. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.
Courtesy: Tim Evans, Sports Information Director, Augustana College