March 13, 2009

The Augustana women's basketball team was outmuscled 81-68 by the No. 4 Minnesota State University, Mankato Mavericks in the first round of the NCAA Division II Central Regional Championship tournament Friday in Mankato, Minn.

"Mankato's strength came to the surface tonight. You turn it over and its leads to layups," said head coach Dave Krauth. " We competed and worked hard, but Mankato was the better team tonight."

The Vikings made 18 turnovers in the game, and the Mavericks capitalized on it, scoring 26 points off of the turnovers, while Augie missed out on 10 layup opportunities.

The Vikings end the 2008-09 season with a 20-10 record, as the Mavericks beat Augie for the second time this season to improve to 27-2 overall.

In a rollercoaster of a first half, both teams burned up the nets, as Augie finished the half shooting 42 percent on 14-of-33 shooting, but the Mavericks were firing on all cylinders and finished the half making 58 percent of its shots on 18-of-31 of shooting.

Both squads were also connecting from the 3-point line as Augie and Minnesota State both shot over 60 percent from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half.

The Vikings got things going right away with a quick 7-0 run in the first 1:24, but the Mavericks fired back with a 14-2 run of its own to take an early 14-9 lead with 15:20 to play.

After senior Whitney Hofer left the game early in the half with an injury, the Vikings battled to a 21-20 deficit with 11:15 to go, but over the next 1:16 the Mavericks scored a fast eight points to take a 29-20 lead half way through the first half.

Hofer returned to the game with 6:00 to go, but Minnesota State outscored the Vikings 14-12 to finish out the half, to take a 48-38 halftime lead.

Minnesota State started the second half on 12-6 run in the first 6:44, as the Vikings came out of halftime 3-of-15 to start the second stanza.

The Mavericks gained its biggest lead of the game at 64-44, but the Vikings fought back with an 18-6 run to bring the game to 70-62 with 5:42 to go in the game, but as quickly as Augie gained momentum, the Mavericks took it all away, scoring seven straight points to gain a 15 point lead with 4:27 to play.

Minnesota State held the Vikings to just six points for the remainder of the game, as Augie finished the night shooting 38 percent from the field on 26-of-38 shooting, while the Mavericks shot 49 percent on 32-of-65 shooting.

Both teams shot well from the 3-point line, as Augustana made 7-of-14 3-pointers and Minnesota State shot 55 percent on 6-of-11 from beyond the arc.

Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Year, Heather Johnson, led all scorers with 25 points in the game on 7-of-15 shooting.

Senior Amy Puthoff scored a team-high 20 points in her last game as a Viking, to go along with 4 rebounds and 3 assists, while senior Brooke Olsen ended her Augie career with near double-double figures, scoring 11 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, while dishing out 4 assists.

Hofer scored 12 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and blocked 3 shots in her last game at Augustana, while fighting a head injury.

The Mavericks will take on the winner of the No, 4 seed Nebraska-Kearney vs. No. 5 Minnesota State University Moorhead.