SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Hot three-point shooting and blocked shots sparked big runs to give Augustana a 66-51 win over Minot State in the first round of the NSIC/Sanford Health Women's Basketball Tournament. The Vikings improve to 21-6 and the Beavers' season ends with a 13-14 record.
Alex Feeney recorded her eighth double-double, 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Andrea Whitney set a career-high in blocks with five swats. Lydia Nelson tied her career-high for blocked shots with four as the Vikings racked up 10 total blocks.
Emily Schulte scored a team-high 15 points, aided by a pair of deep three-pointers, while also assisting on five baskets with no turnovers.
The Vikings limited Carly Boag, who has scored over 20 points on eight occasions this season and hit the 30-point mark five times, to 16 points and 10 rebounds, over two below her conference average in both categories.
The Vikings only shot 34.8 percent on the game, 29.7 percent in the second half, but forced 15 turnovers and converted 15 offensive rebounds into 30 points. Augustana also hit 10 three-point baskets, the seventh time they have sunk double-digit threes this year.
Schulte's 30-foot three-pointer gave the Vikings a slight edge, but Minot State drove to the basket and managed to go on a 9-3 run with four layups. Feeney and Shaunteva Ashley answered with a pair of buckets to stop the Beaver run.
Riley Nordgaard eventually tied the game at 15-15 with a three from the right wing but two more layups gave Minot State another four-point edge. Ashley's free throws preceded Nelson's offensive putback for the third tie of the game at 19-19.
The Vikings held a brief lead after Ashley's two free throws, but Francesca DeAngelis hit a tough layup and split a pair of foul shots to give Minot State a 22-21 lead right after the media timeout.
The Vikings used outside shooting, two quick three-pointers by Schulte and Nelson, to regain a lead and Ashley forced a Minot State timeout by capping an 8-0 run with a fast break jumper to lead 29-22.
Cami Koehn then hit a pair of threes over a two-minute span and turned in a 14-5 run leading up to the one-minute mark. During the first 1:50 of that run, the Vikings hit three of their five shots, two three-pointers, and held the Beavers to 0 for 4 shooting and a turnover.
The Vikings' lead reached eight points, the largest of the game, but Boag converted a three-point play in the final minute to arrive at the 35-30 halftime score.
The Vikings shot 40.6 percent from the field, including seven three-pointers. After giving up a 10-19 start by the Beavers, Augustana clamped down defensively and forced Minot State into a 2-16 shooting performance over the final nine minutes of the first half. Over a four-minute stretch, Minot State missed 10 straight shots.
The Beavers shot 34.3 percent in the first half due in part to some rough-shooting stretches, but Minot State scored 20 points in the paint in the first half; Augustana gives up an average of 22.6 points in the paint per game.
The Vikings gradually increased their lead in the second half, reaching 10 points six mi, after Koehn hit a pull-up jumper from the right elbow. Four quick points cut the Vikings lead to 44-38 as Augustana pulled down three offensive rebounds on one possession but couldn't convert on any of the ensuing attempts.
The Vikings built their lead, but struggled to replicate their three-point shooting performance from the first half. Augustana entered the second-half media timeout 1-13 from behind the arc, but finished the game htting two fo their next four three-point attempts.
The Vikings' lead hovered around 10 before the Vikings offense exploded for a 14-3 run over a span of 4:13. The Vikings hit five of their next eight shots, including a three-pointer each by Ashley and Tinklenberg, while blocking three Minot State attempts (0 for 6 from the field during the Augustana run) and limiting them to just three free throws.
The Vikings held a 64-43 lead and coasted to the finish line, eventually winning 66-51; as the Beavers' six late points couldn't put a dent in the insurmountable lead the Vikings built.
Sacarra Molina surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career and finished with 12 points for the Beavers.
Augustana will now face the University of Mary in the quarterfinals in Bismarck, N.D. on Saturday, March 2. The time is to be determined by the U-Mary athletic department.