SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KWSN) – Alex Feeney's two free throws with 0.7 seconds left gave Augustana a 75-74 win over Emporia State in the NCAA Central Region championship. Feeney was named Most Outstanding Player as she scored 24 points in the championship game and pushed the Vikings' record to 27-6, breaking the school record for most wins in a season.
Feeney corralled a loose ball from Emily Schulte's missed layup and was fouled as she attempted a turnaround jumper. The clock had expired and the referee's fist was clenched in the air, indicating a foul. After reviewing the video replay, 0.7 seconds were placed on the clock and Feeney stepped to the line for two shots.
Feeney swished the first one and Emporia State head coach Jory Collins called his final timeout almost knowing Feeney would cash in her second foul shot – she was 7-7 from the line throughout the game. Feeney did just that and Rachel Hanf's inbounds pass was intercepted by Cami Koehn to seal the game.
Koehn's contribution to the game was more key than just an interception on the final play. The senior reserve poured in 15 points, including three 3-pointers and four free throws in four attempts.
Koehn also hit the layup to put the Vikings up 73-72 before Merissa Quick took back the lead with two free throws. Quick's inside presence was hampered in the beginning of the game but emerged in the second half to score 12 points and finish with a team-high 18 points.
Quick joined Feeney on the alltournament team along with Hornets guards Rheana Egli and Laura Patrick and Southwestern Oklahoma State's Michelle Fisher.
Koehn and fellow senior Lydia Nelson scored in double figures to lead Feeney's supporting cast. Nelson finished with 11 points as she may have been more regarded for holding Quick to just six first-half points and an 0-4 start from the field.
The Vikings and Hornets traded blows early in the first half, but a barrage of 3-pointers by Augustana gave them a double-digit lead. Cami Koehn hit two off the bench and Feeney tallied three makes from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.
The Vikings' first-half lead reached its pinnacle at 35-20 following a Lydia Nelson layup. The Hornets would not sit idly by and closed the gap entering the half. Laura Patrick, the ESU sharpshooter, was held without a 3-pointer, along with the rest of the Hornets squad, for nearly the whole first half. Patrick saw a sliver of space and nailed a three with 1:30 remaining.
Emporia State closed on a 6-2 run to end the half aide by their perfect 8-8 free throw shooting. The hornets were held to just 28.1 percent shooting from the field in the first stanza. The Vikings shot slightly better at 32.4 percent but cashed in on six 3-pointers on 42.9 percent shooting from behind the arc.
Nelson looked to continue the Viking domination early in the second half, but the Hornets would go on a run to tighten up the game. A 9-0 run cut the Vikings lead to one, 41-40, but the Vikings looked to pull away again increasing their lead back to six as late as 56-50.
Patrick and Quick made it a one point game on the next two possessions and ESU took their first lead since 17:20 remained in the first half. Emporia State expanded its lead to 63-60 after two free throws, but Sschule and Shaunteva Ashley each drilled jump shots to take the lead back.
Koehn hit a huge three after Hanf followed Quick's jumper with two free throws and the Vikings were tied for the seventh time. Ashley then fouled out after a questionable call on Hanf's made jumper. Hanf converted the free throw to go ahead one after Koehn hit two more free throws.
Egli extended the lead to three for Emporia State on more free throws and Schulte hit her two foul shots to pull the Vikings within one. The Vikings forced the Hornets into a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass and Koehn converted a layup to go ahead one, 73-72 with 33 seconds remaining.
Another questionable call on following possession sent Quick to the line for two shots. She hit both and set Feeney up for her chance at glory and she came through.
The Vikings travel to San Antonio, Tex. For their first Elite Eight appearance in school history. They will face current No. 1 team Clayton State (Ga.) who won the Southeast Region.
Courtesy: Augustana Athletics