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Augustana Women Advance To NSIC Title Game



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ROCHESTER, Minn. – Emily Schulte carried the Viking offense with 19 points and a stellar defensive effort handed Augustana a 55-43 victory over Concordia-St. Paul in the NSIC/Sanford Health Women’s Basketball Tournament Semifinals.  The Vikings (23-6) will face Minnesota State at 3 p.m. on March 9 for the NSIC Tournament Championship while the Golden Bears (23-6) were eliminated from the bracket.
 
Schulte continued her hot streak in the NSIC Tournament with 19 points raising her postseason average to 18.3 points per game.  Lydia Nelson chipped in with 14 points and four steals.
 
Augustana’s defense was just as much a reason for the victory as Schulte and Nelson’s offensive numbers. The Vikings held CU to 15 second-half points and 4-23 shooting.  The Golden Bears connected on just 28.8 percent of their field goal attempts for the game as the Vikings forced 18 turnovers which they converted into 14 points.
 
The Vikings also found their way into the lane with ease, scoring 32 points in the paint.  Augustana’s short- and mid-range game was necessary as the Vikings only hit two 3-pointers, a season low mark.
 
After Kionda Nicks hit a jumper for CU two minutes into the second half, the Vikings dominated the next four minutes.  Faith TInklenberg hit a pair of layups and the Vikings forced Concordia-St. Paul into committing three turnovers and 0-6 shooting from the field. 
 
Augustana’s lead stretched to 41-30 with Schulte, Nelson, and Andrea Whitney hitting jumpers on the 10-0 run.  CU stat-sheet stuffer Rachel Hansen converted a layup to break the scoring streak, but Augustana had some pent-up aggression towards the only team that handed them double-digit losses this year.
 
Schulte continued her hot streak, hitting all four of her shots over an eight-minute span and the Vikings’ lead had reached 18 points by the 6:24 mark in the half.  Again, Whitney and Nelson were key instruments in the Augustana run that reached 22-4 after Schulte’s layup.
 
Schulte then closed out the game by hitting all four of her free throws and extending her consecutive foul shot streak to 20 makes over the past four games. The Golden Bears narrowed the gap with free throws, but the Vikings lead was too much to overcome and Augustana finished the game as 55-43 victors.
 
The Vikings played the aggressor in the early portion of the first half, but Concordia-St. Paul had an answer for every Augustana basket.  Schulte started quickly with a baseline layup on the opening possession, but the Golden Bears quickly answered with a jumper of their own.
 
Shaunteva Ashley then followed with a 3-pointer and Carissa Wolyniec answered with a triple of her own. Lydia Nelson hit a turnaround jumper from 10 feet, but Anika Whiting converted on the other end.
 
The back-and-forth scoring continued until Lydia Nelson sparked a six-point run for the Vikings which created a 20-13 lead with eight minutes remaining in the game.  The Golden Bears then clawed back but couldn’t take the lead, only cutting the deficit to one point in the final seconds of the half.
 
The Vikings took a 29-28 lead into the intermission before going on their second-half run to put Concordia-St. Paul away for good.
 
This is the Vikings’ second-consecutive trip to the NSIC Tournament Championship game. Augustana fell to Wayne State on a last-second shot, 62-59, in last year’s game.

-Courtesy Augustana Athletics
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