BISMARCK, N.D. – Emily Schulte's career-high 21 points led Augustana (22-6) to a 74-59 victory over the University of Mary (19-11), advancing to the NSIC/Sanford Health Women's Basketball Tournament Semifinals.
Schulte hit all 10 of her free throws, also a career-high in attempts and makes, finishing with 21 points, besting her previous high of 19 which she had arrived at on three occasions. The Vikings as a team shot 41 free throws and hit 31 of them compared to the 11-15 performance by the Marauders.
Ali Collins led U-Mary with a career-high 27 points in her final collegiate game. The Vikings tied a seson-low with just three three-point field goals, but also limited deep threat Marauders to just six triples.
Andrea Whitney also set a career-high for the Vikings with 13 boards, a game-high, one more than her previous best from Nov. 26, 2011.
The Vikings were aided by eight free throws in the first seven minutes of the half to stay in the game before Augustana put the clamps on the U-Mary offense and exploded for a 14-0 run.
Down 15-13 at the 13:50 mark, Cami Koehn hit her second three of the game to give the Vikings a 16-15 lead. Faith Tinklenberg nailed a triple after Nordgaard hit a pair of free throws and Schulte contributed hit a jump shot, expanding the Viking lead to 23-15.
Shulte and Shaunteva Ashley capped off the run with a layup each bringing the Vikings to a 27-15 lead. The Marauders answered with a brief seven-point run of their own.
The Viking had the last laugh of the half, ending on a 10-2 run sparked by Whitney's consecutive buckets. Ashley and Emily Bose both hit their two free throws to bring the Vikings' total to 12-18 on foul shots in the first half.
Schulte ended the half with a layup in the waning seconds to give the Vikings a 37-24 lead entering intermission. The Augustana defense held U-Mary scoreless the final 4:24 of the half, 0-8 from the field and a turnover.
Augustana struck first in the second stanza with an Alex Feeney jumper, but the Marauders snapped their five-minute scoring drought with a three-pointer and four points from Collins.
With their lead down to eight points, Feeney traded baskets with the Marauders and Schulte hit two more free throws to give the Vikings a 45-33 lead. Collins answered with five more points capped off by an and-one to cut the Viking margin to six, 47-41.
Schulte's free throws were answered by Shaunna Knife's layup but Ashley and Whitney connected on consecutive possessions to give the Vikings another double-digit lead, 53-43. Schulte converted on a layup to tie her career high but the Marauders continued to chip away at the Viking lead from the free throw line.
Collins sank a pair at the charity stripe and Augustana led 57-49 with just under nine minutes in the game. Koehn's free throws then extended the lead to 10 but Collins' hot night continued with a three-pointer.
The Viking lead never sunk below seven points for the rest of the game as Augustana shot very well from the free throw line as U-Mary was forced to foul to stop the clock. In the final four minutes of the game, the Vikings hit nine of their 12 free throw attempts to keep the Marauders at bay.
With Koehn's final free throws at the one-minute mark, the Vikings arrived at their final score of 74-59.
The Vikings only shot 37 percent, but racked up 31 points on 75.6 percent shooting. From the free throw line.
Augustana will play the winner of Concordia-St. Paul and Northern State in the semifinals in Rochester, Minn. on Friday, March 8 at 5 p.m.