Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Women’s basketball finishes the regular season and prepares for the conference tournament

The Augustana women’s basketball team has just finished their regular season with a 72-46 loss against number 19-ranked Carroll on Saturday, Feb 17. The team is coming off of a 19-9 season last year, which included going to the CCIW Championship game in the conference tournament. They wanted to carry that success into this season. Senior Linnea Johansen was one player who said she was excited to continue the play from last season.

“I was excited at the opportunity to play for my last year,” Johansen said. “We did well last year and had a chance to get to the conference championship game. So I was excited to build off of that and, hopefully, be able to add more accomplishments to our record.” 

Despite the team returning eight players from last year’s team, they are still very young. The team consists of mostly underclassmen players, with two seniors and one Fifth-Year, Macy Beinborn. 

The Vikings started 6-4 through the first ten games, but injuries and little mistakes prevented the team from playing consistently during the regular season. 12th-year Head Coach Mark Beinborn understood the challenge that injuries present in preventing a team from playing consistently but knew his group of players was tough.

“This group has worked through adversity, which is ultimately what life is. We’ve had injuries and had many people banged up, but we still came back and were able to play one of the best teams in our conference and played a heck of a game,” Coach Beinborn said. “That just shows the resiliency and toughness of this group.”

Starting with the team’s win against Fontbonne University in St. Louis on Nov 26, 2023, the Vikings won seven out of ten games in the heart of the regular season. During that stretch, they won blowout games against CCIW opponents Carthage and North Park and close games against Elmhurst and North Central. 

“It’s rewarding. You have to fight, especially in those last few minutes. We have to lock in and focus, give everything for the last two minutes and then, once you win, it’s just the biggest relief. It all pays off,” Beinborn said, 

However, towards the end of the season, the Vikings fell in close games at North Central and on Senior Night at home to Millikin, who are ranked nationally. Though it ended in a loss, senior Corey Whitlock noticed a key positive from the game. 

“One takeaway is we’re getting better. We played against Millikin, and we came out strong in the first quarter,” Whitlock said. “We kept going hard at them. They’re one of the best teams in our conference. We held their best scorer, who scores 20 points a game, to 10 points, and it was like a huge thing for us because she would go off and score usually, but our defense was great.” 

The Vikings clinched a CCIW conference tournament placement and will be the fifth seed.

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