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January 19, 2010

2009-2010 Season - Fox returns but Vikings fall at Millikin

Senior Kristen Fox (Ottawa HS, Ottawa, Ill.) tallied 14 points in her return to the Viking lineup, but the Augustana women’s basketball team dropped a 68-63 decision to Millikin on Tuesday, January 19 in Decatur, Illinois.  The Blue & Gold fall to 6-10 overall and 1-4 in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin.

The two squads traded the lead back and forth for much of the first period, with Millikin clinging to a slim 21-19 advantage after a Viking bucket from freshman Dori Gills (Holy Family HS, Boulder, Colo.) at the 6:13 mark.  The Big Blue responded with the first big surge of the contest, using a quick 10-0 scoring spree to take a 31-19 lead with 4:49 remaining.

Augustana still trailed by 12 with 3:30 left in the opening half, but scored the final 12 points before intermission to knot the contest at 36-36 heading into the break.  Fox contributed six points during the run, including a three point basket to kick start the rally.  Sophomores Lani Kasten (German Valley HS, Forreston, Ill.) and Kristina Howard (Cherokee Trail HS, Aurora, Colo.) and freshman Gianna Pecora (Downers Grove South HS, Downers Grove, Ill.) each scored for Augustana during the key stretch, with Pecora’s buzzer beating jumper tying the game.

Millikin reestablished its edge early in the second half, pulling ahead 52-41 at the 14:40 mark.  The lead eventually grew to 58-42 with only 10:39 to play, as the Viking offense endured an extended cold spell and appeared to be on the way to a lopsided defeat.

With the game slipping away, the Vikings dug deep and made a furious comeback, slicing into the Big Blue lead with a relentless attack.  Sophomore Natalie Runge (St. Dominic HS, O’Fallon, Mo.) converted a three point play, and freshman Kelsey Mikula (Coal City HS, Coal City, Ill.) dropped in a three point shot, as Augustana cut the lead to 58-48.

Mikula scored again as the Vikings climbed back within single digits.  Junior Dawn Kernich (Mt. Olive HS, Mt. Olive, Ill.) and Kasten combined for the next 10 Viking points, with a Kernich jumper trimming the Big Blue lead to 61-60 with 3:18 to play.  Freshman Kristin Warnken (Centaurus HS, Erie, Colo.) nailed a three point field goal to keep Augustana within one at 64-63 with 1:18 left in the game, but Millikin scored the final four points to escape with a narrow home victory.

Along with 14 points, Fox also contributed five rebounds and three steals in her first game back from injury.  Kasten added 11 points and five rebounds of her own.  Kernich tallied 10 points off the bench, hitting all three of her field goal attempts and going 4-4 from the charity stripe.

Julia Robert finished with 21 points, leading Millikin’s four double digit scorers.  She also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.   

Story written by Assistant Sports Information Director Adam Strand