Augustana tops USD women Free throw shooting and rebounding were the keys as the Augustana Vikings women's basketball team (8-3, 2-1 NCC) took a 75-69 North Central Conference victory over The University of South Dakota on Friday night, Dec. 29, at the Elmen Center.
While USD (6-4, 1-2 NCC) showed some offensive spark, the Vikings' size hurt a shorter USD team.
In anybody's estimation, the Coyotes' biggest problem was rebounding. The Vikings had a 54-29 advantage for the game. Time and time again, they used their size inside to grab offensive rebounds and score field goals in the paint. Augustana had a 19-7 offensive rebound edge.
Another key to the game was at the free throw line. The Vikings hit 25 of 34 (.735) while the Coyotes had just nine free throw attempts, making six. Overall USD had 24 fouls while Augustana was whistled for 15.
The Coyotes jumped out quickly to grab a 7-4 lead at the 16:58 mark of the first half after sophomore Julia Frie hit a field goal. The Vikings fought back to take an 8-7 lead when Tamera Oltmans scored at 15:58. Then USD, keyed by 5 points from Heather Nelson, went on a 7-0 run to grab a 14-8 lead with 14:33 to play.
After the Vikings' Tresse Klumper tied the game at 14-14, the Coyotes went on a 7-2 run to grab a 21-16 lead and extended their lead to 24-18 after Amanda Iverson converted a layup and free throw.
After that, Augustana took control, outscoring the Coyotes 16-4 during the final nine minutes of the half.
While USD showed some offensive spark, the Coyotes hit just 39.3 percent in the first half. They converted four of 10 3-point baskets and were two of three from the free throw line. Augustana hit 14 of 31 (.452) first half field goals and led 34-28 at the break.
In the second half, after Augustana grabbed a 38-30 lead, the Coyotes fought back to 40-36 on a Nicole Jaycox 3-pointer.
After the Vikings opened up a 44-38 lead, Frie answered with a 3-point field goal to draw Coyotes within 44-41. But Janssen scored three consecutive baskets in the paint to grab a 52-48 lead. Krista Orsack caught fire in the second half, and her third 3-pointer in a two-minute span gave the Coyotes a 54-53 lead.
Five straight points by Sheppard moved the lead back to Augustana at 58-54. The Vikings extended the lead to 65-58 when Sheppard again found an opening inside. Then a basket by Jodi Schroeder brought USD within 65-60. A basket by Koepp drew the Coyotes to 66-62, but that was as close as the Coyotes would get.
A 3-point play by Koepp moved USD to 71-66, but it was too little, too late. A 3-pointer by Orsack was followed by two free throws by Oltmans, and the Coyotes ended up on the short side of the score by 6 points.
Frie led the Coyotes with 14 points and seven rebounds while Orsack had 13 points, as she hit four of nine 3-point baskets. Jaycox added 10 points.