SAN ANTONIO – No. 24 Augustana was outmatched in their first NCAA national semifinal appearance and fell to 10th-ranked Dowling, 76-54. The Vikings finish their historic season with a 28-7 mark and the Golden Lions advance to the NCAA Championship game with a 30-3 record.
Faith Tinklenberg, Alex Feeney, Cami Koehn, and Lydia Nelson played their final game in an Augustana uniform, but they carried the Vikings deeper into the NCAA Tournament and won more games in a season than any other team in program history.
Tinklenberg tied a career high with 21 points and four 3-pointers made as she was the only Viking to score in double figures. Tinklenberg may have hit a career-high in threes, but the Dowling Golden Lions would steal the thunder on the glass and from behind the arc.
Danielle Wilson lived up to her All-America billing by scoring 18 points, 16 in the first half, and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the rebounding charge for DC. The Golden Lions outrebounded the Vikings 47-29 and grabbed 12 offensive boards, turning those into 17 second chance points.
Connie Simmons took advantage of Wilson’s big first half and used the Vikings’ diverted attention to score 16 second-half points and finish with a game-high 24.
Dowling averaged 4.3 three-point field goals made per game coming into the national semifinal and shot 27.7 percent from behind the arc, but changed that with a stunning performance from deep.
The Golden Lions made eight 3-pointers on 13 attempts for a 61.5 percent showing. Nicole Caggiano hit three of her four attempts off the bench and finished with 13 points.
Feeney, the Vikings’ leading scorer was outmatched by Wilson on the block and finished with just four points, including zero in the first half. She finishes her career with 1,723 points which ranks fourth on Augustana’s all-time scoring list.
Koehn did what she did best by hitting three 3-pointers, but the Vikings’ guards were stymied by the defense from Dowling’s backcourt. Starting guards Emily Schulte and Shaunteva Ashley finished with a combined 11 points on 3-13 shooting and limited to six assists.
Tinklenberg had a tremendous first half, but was outdone by the surprising three-point shooting of Dowling and Wilson’s stellar post play. The Golden Lions hit four of their six three-point attempts in the first stanza.
Wilson led the charge from the inside, freeing up the outside looks for Dowling. The 6-foot-3 Baylor transfer scored 16 points on seven shots, all from within the paint. The Vikings were outscored in the paint 20-6 in the first half and gave up eight offensive rebounds for 13 second chance points.
Both teams opened the game at a blistering pace with the Vikings scoring in the first five seconds of the game off the opening tip. But despite the slow pace Dowling is accustomed to playing, the Golden Lions continued to shoot at a high percentage.
Augustana drew within six late in the first half but a run by Dowling, including a three with four seconds left gave them a 12-point lead entering intermission, 39-27.
The second half wasn’t any more fruitful for the Vikings who were reeling from a 29 percent shooting performance in the first half. And within the first six minutes of the second half, the Dowling lead had reached 20 points, 52-32.
The Vikings trimmed it to 15 points off a Feeney layup, her first points of the game. Caggiano responded with a jumper and Koehn hit her third three of the game, cutting the lead to 14 points, 60-46, with 6:10 remaining.
Although the glimmer of hope was there with this team’s offensive ability, Dowling buried the Vikings in the closing minutes of the game. The Golden Lions continued to harass the Vikings in the paint and racked up more blocked shots with Wilson swatting away two on the same possession.
The Viking comeback effort had been thwarted by Dowling and the Golden Lions would move on to the national championship game with a 76-54 win.
The 2012-13 team closes out the year as the winningest team in a single season, besting the 1991-92 squad by two wins. Feeney owns the career record with 127 starts and Tinklenberg finishes atop the list of career games played with 129 appearances and finished just six points shy of 1,000 career points.
Lydia Nelson climbed into the top 30 in Augustana’s scoring list and surpassed 1,000 career points, finishing with 1,035. Koehn finished the season with 59 three-point field goals made and over doubled her career scoring total with 273 points her senior year.
Courtesy: Eric Zahn, Augie Sports Information
Video Courtesy of Midco Sports Net