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Cougars Take Down Vikings in Crosstown Rivalry

University of Sioux Falls
University of Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (January 24, 2014) – For the first time since joining the NCAA and NSIC, the University of Sioux Falls (10-7, 6-7 NSIC) defeated Augustana (10-7, 6-7 NSIC) 84-72 at the Elmen Center on Friday night. USF relied on a team effort as five Cougar players scored in double-digits in the victory.   The Cougars last defeated the Vikings on November 15, 2011 during USF’s transitional year into the NCAA. The difference in the game came from behind the arc as USF was 14-of-30 on three-point shots (46.7%) while Augustana shot 21.9% from downtown. The Cougars got out to a fast start when Taylor Varsho and Sam Knecht teamed up to give USF a 13-4 lead. The pair scored each of the first 13 points for USF. The Cougars then built on that lead as they went on a 17-5 run to give themselves a 30-17 lead with 8:33 left to play in the half. The run was capped off when Laura Johnson and Bailey Bouman combined to hit three straight three-point shots. The Vikings then stormed back with a run of their own as an Alex Kneeland fast break layup cut the Cougars lead down to eight points with just over two minutes left in the half. Just when the Cougars needed a spark, Teagan Molden stepped up as she drove the lane and was fouled. After making the first free-throw, she missed the second, but Sam Knecht was there to grab one of her 13 first half rebounds. Knecht then dished the ball back to Molden who finished with a layup. Molden was also fouled on the play and completed the three-point play giving USF a 45-33 lead. After the Vikings answered back with a three-point shot, the Cougars Molden came up big again as she grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a point blank shot to give USF an 11-point lead heading into the locker room. The Vikings cut the Cougars lead down to three-points with 15:55 left in the game when Shaunteva Ashley hit a three point shot off of an Emily Schulte pass. A Laura Johnson three-point shot coupled with an Amber Paden fast break layup capped off a USF 15-5 run to build the Cougars’ lead to 13 points with 10:22 remaining in the game. Augustana fought back by scoring nine straight points to cut the Cougars lead down to four points with 6:02 left in the game. A timely Bailey Bouman three-point shot gave USF a 10-point lead with 3:41 remaining. The Cougars were perfect from the charity stripe in the final two minutes of the game as Laura Johnson and Taylor Varsho each went 2-for-2 from the line. The Vikings Shaunteva Ashley made a layup at the buzzer to cut USF’s final margin of victory to 12 points as the Cougars left the Elmen Center winning by a score of 84-72. The Cougars received strong performances from Laura Johnson and Taylor Varsho who each scored 18 points. Johnson also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists for USF.“We really wanted it and came out strong in the first half,” said senior forward Laura Johnson. “They came back in the second half and gave us a run for our money but we held on.”Sam Knecht came up big on the boards for USF as she grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds. Her previous career-high came earlier this season when she grabbed 14 rebounds in a loss to Augustana at the Stewart Center. Knecht also recorded her third double-double of the season by putting up ten points. Teagan Molden and Marie Malloy also got into double-digits scoring for the Cougars as they scored 13 and 10 points respectively. The Vikings were led by Shaunteva Ashley and Emily Schulte who each scored 19 points. Ashley also helped set up her teammates as she recorded a game-high seven assists. The Cougars shot 45.3% from the field while holding Augustana to only 36.1% shooting. USF will look to keep the momentum rolling on Saturday as they travel to take on the No. 12 Wayne State Wildcats. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. in Wayne, Neb. at Rice Auditorium.


Paul Watley


University of Sioux Falls Sports Information