SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Augustana looked like the powerhouse of old on Heritage Court Wednesday night, and it came at the Bemidji State women’s basketball team’s expense.
The Beavers didn’t have any answer for the Vikings’ might and watched their season come to a close as a result, falling 75-56 in the opening round of the NSIC Tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“You’ve got to credit Augie,” BSU head coach Chelsea DeVille said. “They really pressured us and made us turn the ball over. We just weren’t fundamentally sound and disciplined, especially on the offensive end, and then we weren’t gritty and tough defensively.”
Bemidji State coughed up 22 turnovers on the game, which turned into an overwhelming 33 Augustana points.
“I credit Augie more than just completely discrediting us,” DeVille said. “They did a nice job pressuring us and getting some easy ones. And then the momentum went their way.”
The sixth-seeded Beavers (9-18) were hanging tough, within 18-17 after a quarter behind Taylor Bray’s strong 10-point start. But then they let up a nightmarish 17-0 run to open the second quarter, which sprung the third-seeded Vikings (17-10) in front 35-17.
Augustana shot 6-for-10 during the 5 minute, 35-second stretch, including a 3-for-4 mark from downtown. The Vikings forced BSU into six turnovers with just three shot attempts during the spell, and Bemidji State didn’t score in the frame until Bray’s layup more than six minutes in.
“The biggest part was that we started playing stretched out within our offense and not doing what was working in the first quarter,” DeVille said of the first half. “Thirteen turnovers and 24 points (off of them), that’s just undisciplined basketball where we let their pressure get to us.”
The Beaver offense started to pick up the pace over the final four minutes, but a closing 6-0 spurt sent Augustana into halftime with a 48-29 lead.
BSU still had faith that a comeback wasn’t out of the question, however.
“Watching film after film, there were a lot of opportunities where they had big leads and let teams creep back in,” DeVille said. “We focused on that opportunity. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t chip away into it.”
Augie never let its lead slip under 15 in the second half. A 26-point difference, 67-41 at the end of the third quarter, stood as the largest of the night. And although Bemidji State’s 15-4 run to start the fourth quarter made for a better final score, it couldn’t prevent the season-ending knockout punch.
“We would do nice things offensively in the third quarter, but then we’d just have our hands down on a shooter,” DeVille said. “They took advantage. They knocked shots down. You can’t exchange baskets when you’re down 17 points.”
Bray finished the night with 16 points to lead the Beavers, while Trinity Myer tallied 10 and Brooklyn Bachmann eight. Erica Gartner, the team’s lone senior, had six points in her final collegiate game.
Hannah Mitby led all scorers with her 17-point effort for Augustana. Jenelle Shiffler pitched in 13.
Wednesday’s loss also kept Bemidji State from earning playoff wins in consecutive years for the first time since a five-year streak ended in 1988-89 during the program’s NAIA days.
No. 3 Augustana 75, No. 6 Bemidji State 56
BSU 17 12 12 15 -- 56
AU 18 30 19 8 -- 75
BEMIDJI STATE (9-18) -- Bray 16, Myer 10, Bachmann 8, Gartner 6, Zerr 6, Heittola 3, Wenner 3, DuBois 2, Rezabek 2, Wolhowe 0. Totals 18-51, 12-17, 56.
AUGUSTANA (17-10) -- Mitby 17, Shiffler 13, Duffy 9, Hora 9, Karp 9, Beyer 8, Zilverberg 5, Sees 4, Van Veldhuizen 1, Honner 0. Totals 28-57, 12-16, 75.