The No. 3 seeded Augustana (22-10, NSIC 13-9) women’s basketball team used an early lead to give it the confidence and energy it needed to take down the No. 6 seeded Northern State (10-19, 7-15) with a score of 80-64 in the First Round of the NSIC championship on Wednesday evening at the Sioux Falls arena.
The Vikings, who were the 2018 NSIC tournament defending champions, already faced the Wolves on Jan. 19. That encounter also turned out in the Vikings’ favor with a 75-66 win.
“We looked at quite a few of their games since we played them and they’d improved, I thought, substantially,” head coach Dave Krauth said. “They really looked a lot more composed against pressure, but we still got some turnovers and that sometimes really fuels us and our offense.”
The Vikings came out strong, led with a series of shots from senior guard Lyndsey Prosser, junior guard Hana Metoxen and senior center Shelby Selland, and continued to extend their buffer, ending the first quarter with the 23-13 lead.
In the second quarter, the Vikings staggered and the Wolves battled back. With 33 seconds left in the half, a jump shot by Northern junior guard Jessi Marti brought the Wolves to 34-37, three points away from catching the Vikings’ lead.
The Vikings came to the second half ready to go. Through the third quarter, they fought their way back into a 20-point lead and with 4:24 left in the fourth, they had solidified their position with the largest lead of the game.
“We expected them to [be] really methodical, really get into their offense,” Prosser said. “I think we did a good job of taking them out of that, our transition defense was really great and they just couldn’t match up to that.”
Prosser was on fire, leading the team with 27 total points, with 10 of 18 made inside the arc.
“She’s (Prosser) kind of a roadrunner, just a go-getter,” Krauth said. “She’s going hard with the basketball and kind of ball-hawking on defense.”
Selland had 19 total points and led the team in rebounds with 11. Vishe’ Rabb racked up 13 points.
Brianna Kusler led Northern with 17 points and 6 rebounds, while Lexi Wadsworth had 11 points and Jessi Marti had 9.
The Vikings return this Saturday to take on University of Minnesota Duluth (20-6, NSIC 18-4) at the Sanford Pentagon. Tipoff will be at 8 p.m.