Augustana scored seven points in 16 seconds to spark a run of 14 consecutive points to break open a tied game. That scoring burst lifted the Vikings to a 77-63 victory in the quarterfinal of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference women's basketball tournament.
"I loved our effort," Dragons head coach Karla Nelson said. "I thought our effort was really good. For about 37 minutes we were the better team, but unfortunately a game is 40 minutes long."
The Dragons (7-6) had a seven-point lead with less than eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter and were in position to upset the No. 1 seed from the South Division. The Vikings, however, scored 23 of 25 points during one stretch to overcome that fourth-quarter deficit.
"We went really three quarters just trying to hang around it seemed like. We weren't shooting the ball well," Augustana head coach Dave Krauth said. "For some reason, the switch got flipped in the fourth quarter."
The Dragons tied the score at 59-59 after junior post Peyton Boom scored in the paint with 3 minutes, 28 seconds remaining.
“I feel everyone came in ready to play and they knew what they had to do to get ahead of Augie," said Boom, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds. "We had the intensity.”
Moments later, the game's momentum shifted sharply. Augustana sophomore Aislinn Duffy scored a basket, fouling out Boom in the process with 3:16 to play. Duffy missed the free throw, but Nelson was called for a technical foul as the Dragons advanced the ball up the court. Augustana junior Vishe' Rabb sank the two technical foul shots for a 63-59 lead.
"The technical was really bad on my part," Nelson said. "I should have done a better job of my selection of words and that was costly. I take full responsibility for that. That really swung the tide in their direction and we just couldn't get the momentum back. They were feeling it after that."
On the ensuing Augustana possession, Duffy hit a 3-pointer to give the Vikings a 66-59 lead with 3:00 remaining.
"That was a big swing," Krauth said.
Augustana guard Hannah Mitby capped the game-changing 14-0 run with two free throws that gave the Vikings a 73-59 lead with 57 seconds to play.
“It was tough," Boom said of the game's final few minutes. “I thought we tried to continue that momentum that we had, but we just couldn’t get the flow and then Augie just kept getting those fouls from us and it wasn’t the best.”
The Dragons took a 57-50 lead after senior guard Sarah Jacobson sank a 3-pointer with 7:23 remaining. Rabb countered with the next nine points, including a 3-point play that gave the Vikings a 59-57 lead with 3:44 remaining. The 5-foot-9 Rabb scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter.
"We just didn't answer the bell offensively and then put them at the free-throw line at the end," Nelson said. "Vishe' Rabb was tough for us to guard. ... She did a good job of getting to the rim and over the top of us and then we fouled and she goes to the free-throw line. They ended up shooting a lot of free throws in that final seven minutes."
Augustana shot 89% (16 of 18) from the foul line and 64% (7 of 11) from the field in the fourth quarter. The Vikings outscored the Dragons 32-13 over the game's final 10 minutes, including a 23-2 run during one stretch.
“I thought we had a good year for everything that was going on," said Boom with the Dragons having four regular-season games canceled due the COVID-19 test protocols. "We had to try to figure out how to play together and thought in some cases we found that flow, but in other games we just couldn’t get that flow going.”
Jacobson, a senior guard, scored 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the floor in her final game with the Dragons. She also added seven rebounds.
"I thought overall as a group we persevered through a lot of tough situations. I was proud of them for all the work they put in," Nelson said. "The start-stop (canceled games) is really hard mentally on them and they handled themselves well."
MSUM 19 31 50 63
AU 16 32 45 77
MSUM (7-6): Boom 7-15 4-5 18, Jacobson 4-6 2-2 12, McKeever 4-9 0-0 10, Steichen 2-4 0-0 4, Brown 1-5 1-2 3, Motschenbacher 4-8 2-2 10, Thuringer 2-4 2-6 6, Thompson 0-2 0-0 0, Herbranson 0-0 0-0 0, Liegel 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-54 11-17 63.
AU (12-4): Duffy 6-17 0-1 14, Sees 4-9 6-6 14, Van Vedlhuizen 3-8 3-3 8, Mitby 1-8 5-6 7, Aadland 2-3 0-0 5, Rabb 5-11 9-9 20, Rensch 2-3 0-0 5, Karp 1-1 0-0 3, Shiffler 0-3 1-2 1. Totals 24-63 23-26 77.
3-point goals: MSUM 4-11 (Boom 0-2, Jacobson 2-2, McKeever 2-4, Thuringer 0-1, Thompson 0-1, Liegel 0-1), AU 6-23 (Duffy 2-3, Sees 0-4, Van Veldhuizen 0-4, Mitby 0-2, Aadland 1-2, Rabb 1-3, Rensch 1-2, Karp 1-1, Shiffler 0-2). Total fouls: MSUM 19, AU 18. Fouled out: Boom. Technical foul: Dragons bench. Rebounds: MSUM 41 (Boom 11), AU 31 (Duffy 10). Assists: MSUM 12 (McKeever 4), AU 10 (Duffy 3). Turnovers: MSUM 16 (Brown 4), AU 5 (Mitby 2).