For a second-straight night, The Vikings' offense couldn't be contained as Augustana won 94-83 over Minnesota, Crookston in a high-scoring affair at the Elmen Center on Saturday. The win boosted the Vikings' record to 10-4 and 6-4 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Golden Eagles dropped to 9-8 (3-7 NSIC) with the loss.
Shaunteva Ashley kept her big weekend going, scoring a career-high 25 points on 7-of-11 shooting (63.6 percent). Ashley became the first Augustana player to score at least 25 points in a game since Alex Feeney last season against Minot State. The junior guard also tallied four assists and grabbed four rebounds in the victory. Rhianna Gullickson continued her great play, recording 22 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
Riley Nordgaard, limited to just 21 minutes of action due to foul trouble, made her presence known on the boards, pulling down a career-high 14 rebounds.
The Vikings' 94 points make it back-to-back games now that they have scored at least 90. Augustana is a not-so-surprisingly 4-0 this season when they get their offense rolling like it did against UMC.
Minnesota, Crookston was led by Alexa Thielman. Thielman scored a game-high 26 points for the Golden Eagles. Katrina Moenkedick chipped in 16 points and had seven rebounds in the loss.
The Vikings started off going down 5-0 - their only time trailing in the contest - with all points scored by Thielman to UMC before righting the ship with a 19-4 run, highlighted by two Emily Schulte 3-pointers, to go into the first media timeout up 19-9 over the Golden Eagles.
The Vikings were able to find their shot early for a second-straight game, connecting on 9 of their first 13 attempts (69.2 percent).
Cienna Walker was able to close the gap to five at 24-19 for UMC on a made jumper out of the short corner and hitting two free throws on consecutive trips up the floor.
A circus shot that went in by Schulte after getting fouled gave Augustana a 29-21 lead going into the second media timeout. For the Sioux Falls, S.D. native it was another highlight-reel play this year.
The Vikings' defense would ramp up its intensity midway through the first half, forcing the Golden Eagles into not making a shot for nearly seven minutes while pushing their lead back up to eight at 34-26.
Augustana would make its big move, led by Gullickson, beginning at the 6:01 mark on a layup from the Alexandria, S.D. native that led to the Vikings closing out the half on a 18-11 run, and take a 52-39 lead into halftime. Gullickson scored 11 of her 15 first-half points during the run, going a perfect 7 of 7 in the half.
The 52 points tied the most points scored in a half this season by Augustana. The most impressive part was the way the Vikings got those points, 26 coming in the paint. They were able to get out on the break and score or get inside for easy looks.
UMC was led by Moenkedick's eight points in the first 20 minutes of play. The Golden Eagles were successful at getting to the line in the half, going 15 of 16 (93.8 percent).
The second half saw UMC come out aggressive, using a quick 9-4 run to put themselves back into the game, trailing 56-48 with 17:20 left in the game.
Gullickson would put an end the Golden Eagles run by scoring five quick points in just under a minute to put Augustana back up by 11 points going into the first media timeout in the second half.
UMC would not go away quietly, using a 7-2 run of their own midway through the half to get within four of the Vikings at 74-70.
A loose-ball save by Riley Nordgaard changed the momentum of the game back to Augustana, giving the Vikings an extra possession that resulted in a Schulte 3-pointer, giving Augustana the lead at 83-75 with 5:16 left.
Thielman would not allow her team to go quietly, connecting on her sixth shot from beyond the arc to cut the Vikings' lead to four with 2:47 remaining.
The Golden Eagles wouldn't come any closer than that, failing to hit any shots and being forced to foul to extend the game. Augustana would hit its free throws and go on to win 94-83.
When you're hot, you're hot
Gullickson is now 18 of 24 (75 percent) from the field her last two games, while averaging 20.5 points and 6.5 rebounds.
• The Vikings are now 4-0 when scoring over 90 points in a game this year.
• Augustana's 52 first-half points tied a season high for most points scored in a half.
• The Vikings' 48 rebounds were the most since taking on Midland on Nov. 30.
• Augustana has now hit 10-or-more threes in a game on four occasions.
• The Vikings 13 turnovers gives them under 15 turnovers in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
• Nordgaard's 14 rebounds were a new career high and the most by a Viking this season.
• With Ashley's 25 and Gullickson's 22, Augustana has now had at least two players score 20-plus in a game in three-straight games.
The Vikings take to the road for a pair of games with Minnesota on Friday night, and Concordia-St. Paul on Saturday.
Courtesy: Chris Smith, Assistant Sports Information Director, Augustana College