This year the women’s team will have some help. Incoming freshman Chandler Nielsen, previously of the O’Gorman Knights of Sioux Falls, inked with the team back in mid-April and thinks she can help the Vikings this season.

“Hopefully I can make an impact handling the ball,” Nielsen said. “Hopefully shooting-wise I can make a little bit of an impact as well, and also on the defensive side of things too.”

For head women’s basketball coach Dave Krauth, the women have already been doing well and are looking forward to the season.

“I have been pleased with our pre-season workouts,” Krauth said. “By Oct. 15th each year, the players are always eager to get into regular practice sessions.”

Nielsen averaged 16 points, three assists and two rebounds per game, and 49 percent shooting from the field as a senior at O’Gorman. She also accumulated 1,039 career points and was named O’Gorman’s second all-time leading scorer.

Now Nielsen wants to play for Augustana and help them win. She knew from a young age that she wanted to be a Viking.

“Augustana women’s basketball has a great history as a program,” Nielsen said. “I remember coming to campus when I was little and always loving it.

“And academically, Augie has one of the best pre-med programs in the area, and I am a biology major, so I am excited to be here.”

According to Krauth, the loss and replacement of Molly Hayes, last year’s guard, will be challenging, but he thinks that there is good leadership among the team.

“I know our seniors will do a good job of keeping us focused on the task at hand,” Krauth said. “Alex Feeney ,returning all-conference, will draw a lot of attention from our opponents, but we should have enough depth and balance to make us difficult for teams to prepare for.”

Each year, every team at Augustana has high aspirations when the season starts. The women’s basketball team is no exception.

“Being right in the mix at tournament time is an early season goal,” Krauth said. “Our region has been realigned and it will make NCAA tourney spots even harder to come by.”

The Vikings will have their first home game against University Minnesota Morris on Monday, Nov. 5, at 6 p.m.

To catch an early glimpse of the team, come to Basketball Madness at 6 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 13 in the Elmen Center where there will be a scrimmage within squads.