Sharp Shooting USF Women Take Down Augustana
Coo Win 71-66 At Sioux Falls Arena
SIOUX FALLS – Behind career performances from Madi Robson and Kaely Hummel, the hot-shooting University of Sioux Falls Women’s Basketball defeated cross-town rival Augustana, 71-66, on Saturday evening. The Cougars win their fifth game of their past six, improving their record to 10-2 overall, 6-2 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. With the victory over Augustana, the Cougars have won five of the past seven matchups since USF joined NCAA Division II and evened the series in USF’s D2 era to 5-5.
Robson and Hummel both scored career highs with the aid of a career-best three-point field goals as the Cougars had one of their best long-range shooting nights in their D2 era. Robson hit five threes, tying her career-best from last year’s win at Northern State, and Hummel poured in six triples. As a team, the Cougars made 15 threes on 34 attempts, a 40.5 percent rate and the third-most in their D2 era.
Hummel led the Cougars in scoring for the third time in her freshman season, leading all scorers with 22 points. Robson, who finished with six assists and six rebounds, totaled a career-best 21 points, hitting four free throws late in the game to ice the victory. Sam Knecht continues her strong senior season on the glass, leading USF with 10 rebounds, while Jacey Huinker tied Robson for the team-high with six assists.
The Cougars started out hot in the first quarter, scoring the first 11 points of the game and taking a 25-13 lead into the second period. Hummel hit a three on the first possession and after two straight stops on defense USF added five more points with a Knecht jumper and Robson’s first three. Hummel struck again hitting her second three less than three minutes into the game.
The Vikings answered with four straight points, but Robson and Hummel again connected from distance, returning the USF lead to double digits. Brooke Smith hit one of her two threes in the game a minute later then Andi Mataloni closed the half with USF’s seventh three of the first quarter for a 25-13 Cougar lead after one period.
The Cougars expanded on their lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter, eventually pushing it to 16 points after four minutes. Alyson Johnsen answered an Augustana basket with a jumper and Hummel followed with another three, giving USF a 15-point edge. After two Viking free throws, Robson hit her third three of the game, giving USF a 33-17 lead with 5:42 left in the first half.
After USF’s ninth three of the game, the Cougars didn’t hit a field goal for the rest of the second quarter. The Vikings took advantage of the USF scoring drought, scoring 11 unanswered points to trim the lead to five. Smith connected on a free throw for USF’s last points of the first half before Augustana got a layup in the final minute to bring the halftime score to 34-30.
Early in the third quarter, the teams were answering each other’s buckets as Knecht, Huinker and Hummel’s baskets were all equaled on the next possession. An and-one by Augustana brought the USF lead to just three points with 8:18 left in the period, but the Cougars made another run. Robson connected on two more threes, bringing the Cougar lead back to double digits after Hummel hit a mid-range jumper.
Hummel followed Robson’s triples with her fifth of the game and Moira Duffy converted a layup. Mataloni continued the run with her second three and USF was on top 15 points, 54-39. It was another three that brought the Cougars to their largest lead of the game as Smith connected on her second 3-pointer of the game for a 17-point lead with 1:30 to play in the third. Augustana scored three points in the final minute of the period, bringing the score to 58-44 through three quarters.
USF nursed their double-digit lead for much of the fourth quarter, getting an early bucket from Knecht and a pair of free throws by Duffy. Knecht converted another layup off a Robson assist and Hummel hit another mid-range jumper to keep the lead at 14 points.
With 2:57 left, Augustana hit a three to cut the lead to seven points, but Hummel connected on her sixth three of the game, putting USF back up 10 points with just over two minutes left to play. Despite the double-digit lead and limited possessions remaining in the game, Augustana managed to claw their way back to a one-possession game. The Vikings cut the lead to four points with six straight and after two Robson free throws Augustana cut it to three points with a 3-pointer. Forced to foul with the shot clock turned off, Augustana sent Robson to the line again and she knocked down both free throws with four seconds left for the first 20-point game in her career and a 71-66 victory for USF.
The Cougars stay in Sioux Falls with a home weekend against Upper Iowa and Winona State on Jan. 6 and 7 at the Stewart Center.