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January 6, 2010

2009-2010 Season - Staples scores 13 as Augustana wins 50-43

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Thanks to significant advantage on the glass and double figure scoring from three players, the Augustana women’s basketball team held off North Park down the stretch to secure a 50-43 victory to open league play in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin.  Augustana is now 6-6 overall with a 1-0 mark in the CCIW.  The Vikings are also unbeaten at home with a 5-0 record.

Augustana jumped out to an 8-3 edge to start the contest, with four different starters scoring baskets for the home team.  North Park climbed back into the game, eventually knotting the score at 10-10 with 12:55 remaining in the first half.  The visitors kept pushing, polishing off a 13-2 run to grab a 16-10 lead at the 11:18 mark.

That proved to be the biggest deficit for Augustana, and the Blue & Gold fought back within a point at 18-17 just a few minutes later.  The two squads then went on a scoring drought for the next five minutes before junior Dawn Kernich (Mt. Olive HS, Mt. Olive, Ill.) nailed a jump shot to give Augustana a 19-18 lead at the 4:07 mark. 

After North Park regained a one point lead at 20-19, the home team finished off the opening period with a 9-0 spurt to earn a 28-20 advantage heading to halftime.  Sophomore Abbi Staples (Sterling HS, Sterling, Ill.) drilled a three point field goal with 38 seconds left, the first of three made field goals from beyond the arc for Staples.  Sophomore Natalie Runge (St. Dominic HS, O’Fallon, Mo.) added four points during the stretch, including the final basket of the half.

The lead grew to double figures when a jumper from sophomore Lani Kasten (German Valley HS, Forreston, Ill.) rattled in to put the Blue & Gold in front 32-22.  Augustana continued to stay in control of the contest throughout the second half, gradually notching its largest lead of the night after freshman Kelsey Mikula (Coal City HS, Coal City, Ill.) knocked down a pair of free throws to make the score 47-35 with 5:12 remaining.

North Park made one final rally, using an 8-1 run to trim the deficit to 48-43 with 1:20 remaining, but it was not enough.  Staples converted two free throws in the final 30 seconds to provide the final margin and help Augustana open the CCIW schedule at 1-0.

Staples led Augustana with 13 points, including 3-6 from behind the three point line.  She also grabbed six rebounds.  Runge and Kasten proved to be a strong one-two punch on the boards, combining for 23 rebounds.  Runge finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds while Kasten added 12 points and 11 rebounds of her own.

The visitors were led by Lyndsey Thompson, who poured in a game-high 18 points.  Kam Acree also tallied 14 points for North Park.

Story written by Assistant Sports Information Director Adam Strand