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January 8, 2011

2010-11 Season - Vikings drop heart breaker to Elmhurst 65-62

Kristen Fox led all scorers with 22 points, but the Vikings fell 65-62 to Elmhurst in overtime of its CCIW home opener. Fox also contributed a game-high four steals and played a key role in a terrific second half rally for the Blue & Gold.
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – The Augustana women’s basketball team dropped a heart breaker to Elmhurst on Saturday, January 8 at the Roy J. Carver Center in Rock Island, Illinois.  After battling back from a 17 point deficit in the second half, the Vikings led by three until an Elmhurst trifecta with one second remaining sent the game into overtime.  The Bluejays gutted out a 65-62 decision in the extra session as Augustana fell to 4-9 overall and 0-2 in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin.
Both squads showed tremendous defensive tenacity for most of the first half with both teams struggling to score.  The contest was tight for the first 15 minutes with neither team able to grab a lead of more than two points.  There were also six ties along the way, including a 14-14 score at the 6:27 mark after junior Elizabeth Phillips (Grayslake North HS, Lake Villa, Ill.) knocked down a pair of charity tosses from the foul line.
A Bluejay bucket at the 5:01 mark put them back in the lead and the visitors pulled out to a 21-14 advantage at the 3:53 mark after a 7-0 spurt.  The Blue & Gold fought back with a couple made free throws from freshman Molly Etheridge (Normal Community HS, Bloomington, Ill.) and a bucket from junior Natalie Runge (St. Dominic HS, O’Fallon, Mo.), cutting the deficit to 21-18 at the 3:27 mark.  That would be the last scoring for Augustana in the first half, as Elmhurst closed the opening stanza on a 10-0 to grab a commanding 31-18 halftime lead.
The deficit for Augustana eventually reached 17 (37-20) with 15:46 to play before the home team started its rally.  Senior Kristen Fox (Ottawa HS, Ottawa, Ill.), who led all scorers with 22 points, tallied seven points in the next few minutes and connected on a three point field goal to pull the Blue & Gold within 10 (39-29) with 12:18 remaining.
Sophomore Kristin Warnken (Centaurus HS, Erie, Colo.) knocked down a free throw on the next possession to trim the gap to single digits.  The Vikings eventually finished off a remarkable 24-6 run when Fox drilled another three point basket, putting Augustana ahead, 44-43 at the 6:45 mark.  Fox scored 14 points during the key stretch for the Vikings.  The one point lead was the first for the Vikings since leading 12-11 with 7:42 to play in the first half.
The lead swapped hands a couple more times down the stretch, but a three point play from junior Whitney Miller (Clinton HS, Clinton, Iowa) gave Augustana a slim 51-49 edge with 1:13 remaining.  Runge tacked on a free throw with 10 seconds to play before the fatal trifecta from the visitors with one second to play sent the game into overtime.
Augustana quickly fell behind when Elmhurst scored on its first possession of the extra period, but Miller nailed a three pointer and followed with another bucket to make the score 57-54.  The Bluejays closed within one point on two separate occasions, but Augustana maintained its lead until the 1:40 mark when another three point shot from Elmhurst tied the game for the eighth time.  The Bluejays snatched the lead for good with a field goal at the: 51 second mark and held off the Vikings for the narrow three point win.
Fox was joined in double figures by Runge (13) and Miller (12).  Runge also led the Vikings with six rebounds while Fox contributed a game-high four steals.  The Blue & Gold held a 31-25 edge on the glass and shot 50.0 percent from the floor in the second half and overtime after shooting just 36.8 percent in the first half.
Augustana returns to action on Tuesday, January 11 when the team hosts the Wheaton Thunder.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Story written by Assistant Sports Information Director Adam Strand