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November 29, 2009

2009-2010 Season - Vikings win third straight in women's hoops

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – A positive trend for the Augustana women’s basketball team continued as the Vikings jumped out to another early lead, this time against Heidelberg on Sunday, November 29 in Rock Island, Illinois.  Augustana led 14-5 roughly eight minutes into the game and then was able to rally down the stretch to earn a 63-61 victory.  It is the third straight win for the Blue & Gold, who are now 3-2 overall and have a winning record for the first time under head coach Bobbi Endress.

All five starters contributed a basket in the opening minutes, allowing Augustana to gain a 10-3 lead at the 14:29 mark of the first half.  A pair of free throws by freshman Dori Gills (Holy Family HS, Boulder, Colo.) and a jumper from senior Kristen Fox (Ottawa HS, Ottawa, Ill.) gave the Vikings a 14-5 advantage just minutes later.  The lead then increased to double digits when freshman Gianna Pecora (Downers Grove South HS, Darien, Ill.) knocked down a three point basket to push the advantage to 21-10 midway through the opening stanza.

The Vikings still led by double digits at 31-21 with 4:28 to play until halftime, but a Heidelberg 11-2 run at the end of the half to make it a one point game at the break.  The Vikings clung to a 33-32 edge at intermission with freshman Kristin Warnken (Centaurus HS, Erie, Colo.) scoring the lone bucket for Augustana during the Heidelberg rally.

The second half began with the two teams trading the lead back and forth before a jumper from Heidelberg’s Jenny Miller put the visitors in front 40-38 at the 17:58 mark.  The lead eventually grew to 58-45 with 9:44 remaining before Augustana made its comeback.

Fox nailed a jumper to cut the lead to 58-47 and then five straight points from sophomore Natalie Runge (St. Dominic HS, O’Fallon, Mo.) narrowed the gap to 58-52.  Runge completed a three point play at the 7:46 mark and followed with a pair of charity tosses with 7:21 remaining.  Fox continued the key run with another basket and Warnken added a pair of made free throws as the deficit was cut to two at 58-56 with 5:11 to play.

Stacey Barker gave the visitors a little breathing room with a three point field goal at the 4:17 mark, but those would be the last points of the day for Heidelberg as the Vikings finished the contest on a 7-0 run to secure the home win.  Warnken nailed a three point basket to close the Heidelberg edge to 61-59 and then put the Vikings in front for good with another three point shot, her third of the night, with 2:49 to play.  Strong defense from both teams dominated the last few minutes and a Runge free throw with 30 seconds remaining was the final point scored as the Blue & Gold gutted out a two point victory.

Warnken led the Vikings with 15 points and also made three steals.  Runge turned in a solid showing in the post, contributing 14 points and seven rebounds.  Sophomore Lani Kasten (German Valley HS, Forreston, Ill.) was also a presence on the glass, snaring 10 rebounds, all on the defensive end.

Augustana shot 58.3 percent (14-24) from the floor in the opening half and 48.0 percent (24-50) for the game.  The Vikings also knocked down 6-15 (40.0 percent) three point field goal opportunities.  Heidelberg enjoyed a 42-36 edge on the boards, but was held to 33.8 percent (23-68) shooting for the contest. 

Story written by Assistant Sports Information Director Adam Strand