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December 11, 2010

2010-11 Season - Miller & Fox lead Vikings to third straight victory

Whitney Miller tallied 10 assists, five in each half, to help Augustana collect its third straight victory on Saturday, December 11. The Vikings defeated the Beavers from Buena Vista by a score of 68-59 to improve to 3-5 overall this season. Miller added six points, four rebounds, and two steals while only committing one turnover in 25 minutes of action.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – The Augustana women’s basketball team continued its hot streak at home with a 68-59 win over Buena Vista on Saturday, December 11 in Rock Island, Illinois. The Vikings have won three straight inside the friendly confines of the Roy J. Carver Center and have improved to 3-5 overall this season.

Although Augustana had a couple of two points lead in the early going, the Beavers led for much of the first half, holding as much as a five point advantage. Trailing 19-14 with 6:43 remaining, the Vikings made a big push to take the lead. Freshman Molly Etheridge (Normal Community HS, Bloomington, Ill.) scored two of her nine first half points on a jumper, and senior Alyssa Neitzel (Providence Catholic HS, Shorewood, Ill.) evened the score at 19-19 with a three point field goal. Neitzel’s bucket knotted the game for the fourth time in the opening stanza, but it would be the last tie of the afternoon.

Buena Vista briefly regained the lead at 22-19, but could not hold off the Viking offense in the final three minutes before intermission. Sophomore Kristin Warnken (Centaurus HS, Erie, Colo.) converted a pair of free throws to pull Augustana within one, and a jumper from junior Brianna Skeens (Vernon Hills HS, Vernon Hills, Ill.) gave the Vikings the lead for good at 23-22.

After being held scoreless for almost the entire first half, senior Kristen Fox (Ottawa HS, Ottawa, Ill.) knocked in her first shot of the night right before the buzzer to give the Vikings a 29-24 advantage. That shot was a sign of good things to come for Fox, who would score 16 more points in the second period to finish with a game-high of 18.

Junior Whitney Miller (Clinton HS, Clinton, Iowa) earned her fifth assist of the contest on Fox’s buzzer beater and picked it right back up after the break, assisting on a basket by junior Elizabeth Phillips (Grayslake North HS, Lake Villa, Ill.) to open the second half scoring for the Vikings.

Augustana’s lead ranged from two to six points over the first ten minutes after intermission before a Fox three point basket push the lead to nine (53-44) at the 9:56 mark. It was the third trifecta of the half for Fox and her four three point field goal less than two minutes later gave the Vikings a double digit advantage (56-45) with 8:23 remaining.

Buena Vista clawed back within three points of the lead on three different occasions, but Augustana was able to knock down four of its final six free throws to hold off the Beavers for the home victory. Miller also collected her 10th assist of the game on a jumper from Skeens, the last Viking field goal at the 1:03 mark. After pulling within 62-59 at the 1:22 mark, Buena Vista watched Augustana tally the last six points to produce the final margin.

Fox was joined in double figures by Etheridge, who tallied 13 points off the bench. Junior Natalie Runge (St. Dominic HS, O’Fallon, Mo.) also had a solid outing with eight points and a team-high eight rebounds. Phillips contributed eight points and seven boards.

Augustana shot an impressive 76.9 percent (20-26) from the free throw line, including a perfect 6-6 from Etheridge. The Vikings finished with a slim 41-39 edge on the glass and also forced 22 Beaver turnovers.

After winning three straight at home, the Blue & Gold hit the road for a game at Aurora on Tuesday, December 14 before returning to Rock Island to host Knox on Friday, December 17.

Story written by Assistant Sports Information Director Adam Strand