WAYNE, Neb. -- Augustana rallied back from an eight-point half time deficit to defeat Colorado State Pueblo 82-76 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament Friday evening.

Augustana improves to 24-6 and CSU-Pueblo ends its season at 21-7.

Alex Feeney poured in 24 points and Molly Hayes added 22 to spark the Viking offense. Hayes also recorded nine assists.

Faith Tinklenberg recorded 13 points and Emily Schulte had another 10 for Augustana. They had six rebounds apiece to lead the team.

Katie Nehf's 13 points and 11 rebounds led the ThunderWolves.

The opening 20 minutes was a back and forth battle as Augustana built its lead to 13-8 at 16:02 before CSU-Pueblo rallied back with an 11-3 run to take a 19-16 advantage just over midway through the first half.

The ThunderWolves didn't hold onto that lead, however, and at 7:52 Augustana went ahead 26-21 after Tinklenberg dropped in a layup. That was the highest advantage the Vikings would hold in the half as CSU-Pueblo made 7 for 7 from the field, including four free throws, in the final five and a half minutes before the break.

Augustana trailed 46-38 at intermission. CSU-Pueblo was 18 of 30 from the field (60.0 percent) in the first half and connected on five 3-pointers. The Vikings shot 41.7 percent, making 15 of 36 from the field with four 3-pointers. Feeney and Hayes reached double-figure points with 12 and 11, respectively.

Despite using a 10-4 run to cut its deficit to two points at 16:11, the Vikings didn't take a lead in the second half until they gained a burst of energy beginning at 9:27.  Hayes nailed a 3-pointer to knot the score at 65 and Feeney and Tinklenberg's followed it up by scoring a combined five points to allow Augustana to capture a 70-65 lead with 5:45 remaining.

The Vikings held off the ThunderWolves in the final minutes making 8 of 8 free throws.

Augustana improved its shooting to 44.8 percent in the second half to finish the game at 43.1 percent (28 of 65). UC-Pueblo fell to 39.9 percent shooting in the last 20 minutes to end the game at 49.2 percent (31 of 63).

The ThunderWolves out rebounded the Vikings 41 to 30, while Augustana had just six turnovers to CSU-Pueblo's 15.