Viking women enter postseason with high hopes

Jeanette Rackl

The Augustana women’s basketball team ended a three-game winning streak last Saturday with a 59-56 loss to Wayne State—but the team is looking forward.

“We started the season as an inexperienced group but have continued to grow and mature,” Coach David Krauth said.

While facing the tough grind of a 22-game conference schedule, he says the team has improved this year.

The Vikings are ranked third in the second Central Region rankings of the season. They are now ranked No. 25 in the nation and have an in-region record of 17-5.

The Augustana (19-5, 16-4 NSIC) women will conclude regular season play on the road next week against MSU Moorhead (14-10, 11-9 NSIC) and Minnesota, Crookston (9-15, 6-14 NSIC).

Senior guard Faith Tinklenberg says that the Vikings are still aiming high with big aspirations of being Conference Champions, making it to Regional Tournament and then Nationals. “I feel we have reached some of our goals but we have definitely not reached all our goals,” she said.

But reaching for their desires shouldn’t be a challenge, since Tinklenberg says the team is strong-minded.

“We do not give up,” Tinklenberg said. “We fight to the very last second of the game.”

Besides determination, Krauth highlighted another strength for the Vikings.

“We are a team that has used our quickness to our advantage,” Krauth said. But he also said that the Vikings tend to struggle with getting the rebound.

Once the regular season is behind them, the Vikings will face off with the other top seven teams in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) on Wednesday, Feb. 29.

“With the post-season almost upon us, I hope we can prepare quickly for the specific opponent and then also try to keep our kids as fresh as possible,” Krauth said.

The team aims to keep moving forward.

“Our expectations as a team for post-season are to continue to play hard, have fun and keep positive attitudes,” Tinklenberg said. “We want that Conference Championship and this team will fight hard to get it.”

For tournament play Tinklenberg says the team will continue their current mindset.

“We go into every game thinking this is the most important game and that is what we will do when it comes to tourney time,” she said.

Another constant going into tournament play: energy.

“We always talk about how we need to have energy out on the floor and that we need to be diving after every loose ball and leaving everything on the court,” redshirt freshman Shaunteva Ashley said.

Whatever the outcome, this team has set an example.

“This year’s team has been a lot of fun because of the improvement they’ve made and because they bring good energy every game,” Krauth said. “This team has exceeded my expectations.”