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Women’s basketball team heads into conference play

Although starting out the season 4-0, the Augustana women’s basketball experienced their first loss this season against Wisconsin-Whitewater. The Vikings are using this loss as motivation to improve their performance as conference play beings.

In the 2016-17 season, the Vikings started out 10-0 making it their longest winning streak in team history. The team wanted to mirror their historical season and they managed to do so for the first four games this season. Head coach Mark Beinborn said it was a good transition into the 2017-18 season from the previous season.

However, heading into the game on November 30, the Vikings knew Wisconsin-Whitewater would be tough competition since they are currently ranked 14th in the nation. The Vikings lost 65-82, but Beinborn was proud of how the team executed their game better in the second half.

“Wisconsin-Whitewater was a great test for us because that’s what the top teams in our conference look like. We have to be prepared for that, and hopefully we’ll play like we did in the second half,” Beinborn said. “That loss doesn’t do anything for us. It doesn’t hurt us, it was just a great learning experience.”

Senior Torie Allen thought the Wisconsin-Whitewater game was almost a “reality check” for the team because they got a taste of the level of performance they want to be playing at.

“Getting that loss earlier in the season is better than farther down the road,” Allen said. “It was good to play a good team this early because once we get into conference, every game is its own game and you never know what’s going to happen in conference.”

Coming off their loss, Augustana will play Elmhurst College for their first CCIW game of the season. The team plans to go into that game with the same mindset they have had this entire season by treating every game similarly.

Junior Izzy Anderson emphasized how the team doesn’t want to change much of their playing style in the conference games since their game plan has already been working well for them this season.

“It’ll be tough playing there, but I think it’s really important for us to get that first win and start out conference well,” Anderson said. “Our ultimate goal this year is to win conference, and to do that, we want to have a really good start.”

Last season, the Vikings got fourth in the CCIW tournament. Elmhurst ended up getting third, although the Vikings swept them. Because of this outcome, the Vikings have some bitter feelings towards the Elmhurst Bluejays. This makes Augustana even more excited to have their first CCIW game be against Elmhurst.

Since the Vikings lost some crucial players from last year, this will be a learning year for many players. The team also struggles with some height issues, since some of the players are much shorter than some opposing players. Even with these adjustments, Beinborn is positive the Vikings can have another successful season if they focus on what they need to improve.

“Winning comes from whoever can stay disciplined the longest in a game,” Beinborn said. “All teams have talent, but as long as our players work hard and judge what they’re supposed to be doing, then we will be successful.”

Augustana will be playing at Elmhurst College on Wednesday, December 7 at 7 p.m. The next home game will be a non-conference game versus the University of Dubuque on Wednesday, December 13 at 5 p.m.