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Augustana Dominates Clayton State; Advance to Final Four



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SAN ANTONIO No. 24 Augustana committed a season-high 32 turnovers but built a 24-point lead and held on for victory to beat previously undefeated and top-ranked Clayton State 81-68 in the first round of the Elite Eight.  The Vikings continue their historic run by pushing their record to 28-6 while the Lakers’ season comes to a close with their first loss to finish the year 32-1.

The Lakers were ranked third in the country with a plus-6.6 turnover margin and forcing 23.8 per game.  The Vikings were forced to handle the full-court pressure from the CSU guards, but when they broke the press, easy baskets were often the reward. 

Augustana committed 16 turnovers each half but shot 52.8 percent from the field to counteract the tough Viking defense. Five Vikings scored in double figures and hit at least one 3-pointer each – Augustana shot 58.8 percent from behind the arc.

Shaunteva Ashley and Emily Schulte, sure-handed guards who were in the top-five of the NSIC in assist-to-turnover ratio at the end of the conference season, committed  a combined 22 turnovers, but also racked up 28 points and dished out 12 assists.

Ashley led the Viking with 17 points, including a pair of clutch free throws as the Viking lead dwindled to single digits late in the game.  Schulte hit three 3-pointers and white shooting 4-9 from the field.

Alex Feeney played all 20 minutes of the second half after scoring nine points in the first stanza and finished with 14. Faith Tinklenberg tallied 15 points and eight rebounds, tied for the team-high with Andrea Whitney. 

Cami Koehn’s two threes gave the Vikings a spark off the bench and she finished with 10 points, including a perfect 4-4 from the line.  As expected the Vikings reserves were outscored by Clayton State, led by All-America Drameka Griggs who finished with a game-high 22 points.

The Vikings looked shaky from the start and were in a hole, 4-0, before Feeney scored Augustana’s first points of the Elite Eight.  Playing behind for a large margin of the first half, but eventually started to find gaps in the press and took their first lead on a Koehn 3-pointer, taking a 17-15 edge.

Augustana and Clayton State then traded baskets and CSU led 22-21 with five minutes remaining, but the Vikings embarked on a 9-0 run to give them a lead entering the half.   Whitney hit a layup off an Ashley assist and Tinklenberg converted her two free throws for a three-point lead.

Ashley then hit a 3-pointer and Feeney drilled a 12-foot jumper to give the Vikings an eight-point lead, forcing CSU head coach Dennis Cox to take a timeout.  The Lakers responded by hitting a three, but Koehn’s free throws with 31 seconds left brought the score to 32-25 in favor of Augustana at intermission.

To open the second half, the Vikings hit six of their first seven shots over a five-minute span, including three 3-pointers, two from Schulte.  The Viking lead after their 16-4 run reached 48-29, but it would continue to grow.

Ashley and Koehn hit consecutive 3-pointers after Griggs and Bena Hanyard provided a brief answer.  The largest lead the Vikings owned was 24 points when Andrea Whitney hit a layup with 7:34 and the game seemed in hand, but the Clayton State pressure began to affect the Vikings more.

The Lakers trapped as often as they could and forced eight turnovers over the next five minutes and the Viking lead had dwindled to seven points after Hanyard’s layup and free throw with two minutes left in the game. 

Lydia Nelson hit a breakaway layup to get the lead back to nine, 73-64, with 1:20 left in the game.  Ashley answered with two free throws after a CSU layup and Tinklenberg followed suit with two makes of her own and a fast break layup to get the lead back to double digits.  Ashley closed the scoring out with two more free throws, giving the Vikings their final lead, 81-68, before the clock hit zeroes.

The Vikings will now face the winner of Colorado Mesa (31-1) and Dowling (28-3) at 6 p.m. CDT tomorrow.

 

Courtesy: Augustana Sports Information

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