Women’s basketball optimistic despite .500 start
The Augustana women’s basketball team opened its season with three games in as many days at the Division II CCA Tip-Off Classic at Disneyland. It came with a pair of losses and a win, but members of the team saw good things in their play.
The Vikings beat Colorado School of Mines, 70-61, on Nov. 4 before falling to Simon Fraser University by five and No. 3 West Texas A&M by eight the following two days.
“We played some very good teams at the Tip-Off Classic,” head coach Dave Krauth said. “We could have gone 3-0 against these really quality teams. We just didn’t shoot the basketball well enough or execute. … But with that, there are some positives that can come of that if we can learn and adjust to the situations that we maybe didn’t do so well in.”
The Vikings’ scoring average in their first three games was down nearly 10 points from last season, but that didn’t worry Krauth because it’s still early. Augustana responded well, pouring in 96 points on 42 percent shooting in a rout of Buena Vista on Tuesday, up from just over 65 points on 37 percent shooting in its first three games.
“[We] have some new [players] and situations and combinations,” Krauth said. “We tried in practice and early on to explore those a little bit, but sometimes you don’t get enough reps to know for real until you get some real minutes.”
The Vikings had to replace two important pieces from last season—point guard Sophie Kenney and post Nicole Kerkhoff—but have found some stability.
Sophomore Lynsey Prosser has averaged 6.3 points, 4.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds through her first four starts at point guard. That includes a nine-point, 10-assist effort against Simon Fraser. Junior Paige Peterson has held her own as the Vikings’ starting center, as she showed in a 16-point, 12-board performance against Buena Vista.
“Other than the point-guard position, we have a fairly experienced team,” Krauth said. “Even though we only have one real senior right now, we have a lot of juniors, and these kids have played [before]. I think we have some real potential to develop into a real good team with a shot at doing some damage in our league.”
Junior guard Logan O’Farrell figured to be the team’s workhorse entering the season, and that’s showed. She has posted averages of 15.3 points, eight rebounds and three steals so far this season.
“We are excited how the season started,” O’Farrell said. “Obviously we have our strengths and weaknesses. Playing some great teams really helped us prepare for the season when we get to conference games. Now we know what we did wrong so we can critique it and fix it going forward into the season.”
Junior guard Allie Koehn said the Vikings need to get better at the little things.
“We caused 34 turnovers in the second game and we lost by five points,” Koehn said. “If we would have just executed a little better, rebounded and made free-throws, we would have been more successful. Just kind of doing the little things a little better would have given us a better chance at winning.”
Despite sitting .500 with what the Vikings view as several missed opportunities, they are encouraged by what can be corrected and what went well.
“We aren’t so happy about having that kind of record, but they were great teams [that we lost to], and it only prepares us for the season,” O’Farrell said.
Augustana hosts Dordt College at 7 p.m. Friday at the Elmen Center before beginning the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference portion of the season against Wayne State at 6 p.m. Monday at Sioux Falls Arena.