No. 22 Augustana suffers back-to-back losses after falling at USF

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Trailing by as many as 12 points in the second half, the Augustana women's basketball nearly completed a remarkable comeback on Friday night at the Stewart Center. However, the opposition proved to be too strong as Augustana dropped a NSIC road game for the second straight night, 65-60 vs. the University of Sioux Falls. No. 22 Augustana drops to 14-3 and 6-2 in NSIC play.

Offensively, the bright spots for the Vikings included Abby Hora, who had 13 points and 4 assists. Vishe' Rabb led Augustana with a game high 16 points and four rebounds. Overall, Augustana had a tough night shooting, hitting just 19-64 attempts.

Rabb and the Vikings were not happy with the outcome, but the redshirt freshman was proud of their efforts. "My team had a lot of confidence in me and I wanted to be able to contribute to the game more than I had offensively and defensively in the first half," said Rabb. "With Shelby out tonight, we all have had to step up and I couldn't be prouder of our girls for showing up. The end wasn't what we wanted, but we really believe in each other so I know it will start to come more smoothly for us."

For the fifth time all season, Augustan lost the battle of the boards, picking up just 23 rebounds.

Hora started the scoring with a jumper for the Vikings, but the first quarter was neck and neck with the two sides ending the first tied up at 15 apiece.

The Vikings and Cougars both started the game with a fire, but the Vikings controlled most of the first quarter -- their defensive pressure was in full swing forcing seven turnovers early on.

The second quarter was an intense one and at halftime, the Vikings were behind just three points, 28-31. After dropping six points last night, Allie Walter dropped a team high eight points in the first half. Her presence was a big one for the Vikings inside, scoring off of pick and rolls and a couple close bunnies on the block.

As the horn sounded for the completion of the first half, Augustana headed to the visitors locker room shooting just 8 of 32 (25%), but despite the low percentage only trailed by three.

Augustana's Rabb sparked the Vikings in the second half. Coming off the bench dropping a game high 16 points, all scored in the second half. The Minnesota native was an impressive 6 of 12 from the field tonight, scoring both inside and out.

But, despite her efforts the Vikings just couldn't pull ahead in the third quarter. The No. 22 Vikings headed into the fourth quarter trailing by 10.

The fourth quarter started out stagnant for Augustana, but after the media timeout the team kicked it into high gear. Pulling within five points in the final minutes, a huge rebound and put back from Izzy Van Veldhuizen got her to the free throw line where she cashed in on both. The Vikings pulled within two with the clock winding down.

Having to foul, USF's Jesse Greer knocked down the bonus free throws. The Vikings were behind 60-64. Off of the makes, the Vikings missed their final shot and were forced to foul again, where Cougar Augusta Thramer put the game on ice.

Kaely Hummel led USF with 18 points.

Augustana now returns to action Friday Jan. 11 against Upper Iowa at 5:30 p.m. at the Sioux Falls Arena and tips off again Saturday vs. Winona State on Saturday Jan. 12 at 3:30 p.m.