SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The Augustana women's basketball team fought hard but ultimately fell 77-67 to Wayne State on Saturday afternoon inside the Sanford Pentagon.
With the loss, the Vikings fall to 6-4 overall and 2-4 in NSIC play, while the Wildcats improve to 9-3 and 4-2 in NSIC play.
The Vikings struggled in the first quarter only shooting 27 percent from the field and 14 percent from deep while the Wildcats came out hot shooting 62.5 percent from the field and sinking 3-of-4 from deep. At the end of the first quarter, WSC held a 23-11.
In the second quarter, Augie still struggled to shoot efficiently from the field, but brought the lead down to single digits after an Aislinn Duffy long ball cut the Wildcat lead to 25-16 with 8:42 remaining before half. The Vikings continued to chip away at the lead in the second quarter bringing it to 29-23 thanks to a pair of free throws from Lauren Sees.
With 6:03 left before half, Sees drained a corner three to cut the lead to its smallest margin of the game thus far at 29-26. Going into the media timeout, the Wildcats held a 32-28 lead and later extended their lead back to seven at 36-29 before going into the halftime break up 39-33. After a rough first quarter, the Vikings outscored the Wayne State 22-16 in the second quarter.
Augustana continued to keep things interesting as it gave the game its first tie at 39-39 with 7:38 in the third quarter and later 41-41. McKenzee Zilverberg tied things up at 45-all shortly before the media timeout. A pair of free throws from Hannah Mitby gave Augie its first lead of the game with 3:02 remaining in the third quarter.
Wayne State finished the third quarter on a 6-0 run to take a 57-51 lead into the final quarter of action. The Wildcats scored the first two points of the final quarter to extend their run to 8-0 before an Abby Hora 3-pointer made the score 59-54. Entering the first media timeout of the fourth quarter, WSC held a slim 61-58 lead.
After a Sees jumper in the paint made it a one-point game, the Wildcats used a 7-0 run to build a 70-62 lead with just under two minutes to play. Clutch free throws from Wayne State down the stretch secured a 77-67 victory heading into the Christmas break.
Duffy lead the Vikings with a season-high 18 points and nine rebounds on the afternoon while Hora and Sees chipped in with 16 and 14 points respectively. As a team, the Vikings shot 36.8 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from deep. The Wildcats dominated in the paint with 46 points compared to the Vikings 30. WSC finished with a 46.3 percent clip from the field and 37.5 percent from deep.
The Vikings host Southwest Minnesota State on Friday, January 3 at 5:30 p.m. before finishing up the weekend hosting in-town rival Sioux Falls on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.