Second half lapse costs Vikings in loss at Illinois Wesleyan

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – After battling defending champion Illinois Wesleyan to a near-draw in the first half, Augustana fell to a hot shooting performance in the second half on Wednesday, January 11 in Bloomington, Illinois. The Vikings dropped the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin contest to the Titans by a score of 65-44.

Head coach Bobbi Endress' team had trouble finding the basket all night long, shooting just .291 (16-55) from the floor for the game. In the first half, which concluded with Illinois Wesleyan leading by just three (27-24), the Vikings were able to stay in the game thank in part to a sterling defensive effort. The Titans shot just .323 (10-31) in the first 20 minutes and were just one of seven from three point range.

That all changed in the second half when Illinois Wesleyan shot .538 (14-26) from the floor and made five of eight from three point range.

The game was close for the first seven minutes of the second half and with 13:07 left Augustana was trailing by just four points (36-32) when Chaney Tambling cored on an offensive put back.

However, Melissa Gardner hit back-to-back three point field goals for the Titans to push the lead to 10 points (42-32) with 10:39 left. The lead stayed in double digits for the rest of the game, building to the final margin of 21 points at the buzzer.

Senior Natalie Runge led Augustana with 13 points and she was the only Viking in double figures. The Vikings did hold a 44-37 advantage in rebounding with seniors Kristina Howard and Whitney Miller each leading the way with nine boards apiece. Sophomore Molly Etheridge chipped in with six.

Olivia Lett led Illinois Wesleyan with 22 points while Gardner dropped in 21.

Augustana fell to 9-5 overall and 1-2 in the CCIW while Illinois Wesleyan moved to 10-4 and 3-0.