USF topples women’s basketball in rivalry game

The Augustana women’s basketball team missed out on redemption against the University of Sioux Falls at the Elmen Center on Friday night.

After a tough loss to the Cougars on Jan. 5, the Vikings went in with the hope of not only defeating the No. 2 team in the NSIC South but also of making it to USF’s spot on the NSIC regional tournament bracket. They left the court disappointed with a 76-62 loss after trailing USF for the majority of the game.

“We haven’t played with a lot of confidence here down this stretch, and I was hoping we’d maybe make a few shots early and get ourselves going,” said head coach Dave Krauth. “We hung around, but we just didn’t get past that five [or] six points. That’s about the closest we could get.”

The Vikings kept their five-point buffer for the majority of the first quarter, but halfway through the second, they fell even further behind after a series of missed shots.

Augustana (20-9, NSIC 12-8) gained some footing at the beginning of the third quarter after a 3-pointer by senior center Shelby Selland and a couple of layups by senior guard Lynsey Prosser, but USF (19-7, NSIC 13-5) still held the 44-40 lead.

By the fourth quarter, Augustana’s poor 20 percent field goal total and several turnovers gave the Cougars enough room to take back their 10-point lead and eventually expand it. With 3 minutes left, a layup by USF junior guard Mariah Szymanski brought the score to 70-57 and signaled the Vikings’ demise.

The Vikings tried to fight back with less than 2:00 left in the fourth quarter. But 6 missed free throws prevented them from building their score back up.

By the time the game was finished, the Vikings had found a way to bring their score up to 62, but USF remained beyond their reach at 76.

“I think that we outsized them quite a bit, and we didn’t take full advantage of that,” said Selland. “We turned the ball over too many times, and we didn’t rebound so well.”

Selland was out last time the Vikings played USF on Jan. 5. She tore her ACL during the game against SMSU on Jan. 4.

“She’s not able to move the way that she could when she was healthy, but boy you just have to give her credit,” Krauth said. “She’s worked so hard to rehab and strengthen, and she’s been able to give us good minutes.”

Even though she’s hasn’t recovered all that she lost, Selland still snagged 20 points, 4 rebounds and powered through 26 minutes of playing time.

Prosser provided the second highest number of points with 15, followed by redshirt freshman guard Vishe’ Rabb with 10 and junior guard Abby Hora with 6.

But Krauth knows that his players can do better.

“Overall, I think Abby going to the free-throw line missing her last four kind of summed up where her confidence level was,” he said. “We just have to get a little bit more out of them.”

On Saturday, Feb. 23, Augustana followed with a 95-83 win against SMSU. The team has now earned the No. 3 spot in the NSIC South and will play in the NSIC Tournament First Round on Wednesday, Feb. 27th at the Sioux Falls Arena. Tipoff is set to start at 5:30 p.m. and the opponent has yet to be announced.

Click to enlarge and view the photo gallery below.

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