SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Augustana No. 24 men’s and women’s basketball teams opens up the new year with matchups against Southwest Minnesota State and Sioux Falls on Friday and Saturday. Tipoff for Friday's contest is 5:30 p.m. for the women and 7:30 p.m. for the men and Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. inside the Sanford Pentagon.
Back in the Top-25
Augustana men reentered the NABC Top-25 on Tuesday, claiming the No. 24 spot. The Vikings garnered 30 points in the poll, five points behind No. 23 Bentley. The Vikings are the only NSIC school in the top-25. In fact, no other NSIC school is receiving votes in the poll.
The Vikings women have a combined record of 56-21 against their opponents this weekend. Augie holds a 26-10 all-time record against the Mustangs and a 31-11 record all-time against the Cougars. Since Sioux Falls moved to Division II in 2012, the Vikings and Cougars have an 8-8 record.
On Saturday, the men have the potential of a first-place showdown between the Vikings and Cougars at 5:30 p.m. Both Augie and USF enter the weekend tied for first place in the overall NSIC standings.
SMSU women started the season with an undefeated nonconference season before dropping its first six conference games. The Mustangs come into the contest in search of their first conference win of the season. Southwest Minnesota State is led by Meleah Reinhart with 16.4 points per game on 38 percent shooting from the field. Abuk Akoi leads the team with 9.0 rebounds a contest while averaging 8.1 points per game. As a team, the Mustangs average 69.6 points while giving up 67.7 a contest. SMSU shoots 36 percent from the field while making an average of 15.2 free throws for 83 percent from the line.
The Mustang men enter the first game of 2020 with a 4-8 overall record and 1-5 inside the NSIC. Their lone win was a triple overtime thriller over Minnesota Duluth. The Mustangs own a common win with the Vikings as they also defeated Central Missouri on the season’s opening weekend. Kenny Byers leads the team with 16.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He is joined in double-figure scoring by Nick Dufault and his 13.9 points per game.
Series Record – Augustana men leads, 22-15
A year after being swept by SMSU (2017-18), the Vikings swept the series in 2018-19 including a 77-73 win in the regular-season finale.
Sioux Falls women enter the matchup ranked No. 18 in the nation in the latest WBCA rankings. After starting the season 9-0, the Cougars lost back-to-back games to Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State. The last time out for USF, it defeated Truman and SMSU to enter the holiday break on a two-game win streak. The Cougars are led by Kaely Hummel with 17.9 points per game while Mariah Szymanski and Anna Goodhope average 12.2 and 11.1 points respectively.
As a team, the Cougars average 76.2 and hold their opponents to 65 points a contest. USF shoots 42 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep. Sioux Falls leads the NSIC with a 1.36 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The USF men join the Vikings atop the NSIC standings to begin the weekend, setting up the potential for a first-place showdown Saturday night as the Cougars are 9-3 overall and 5-1 in the NSIC. The Cougars have won five of their last six games with the lone setback a 100-65 loss to Minnesota Duluth. USF is not led by a standout as Austin Slater and Chase Grinde each lead the team with 11.1 points per game while Teathloach Pal averages 10.3 points. All eight players who have seen action in every game average 5.8 points or more per game.
Series Record – Augustana men leads, 37-36
The series dates back to 1922 but since 1987, the Vikings have dominated going 27-6 in the last 33 meetings.
Augustana women enter the new year on a two-game losing streak after splitting a pair of games to Minnesota Crookston and Bemidji State before falling to Wayne State to enter the holiday break. Augie is led by Vishe' Rabb with 14.2 points per game while Lauren Sees and Abby Hora average 12.8 and 12.7 points respectively. Hana Metoxen leads the team with 5.7 boards a game and also has recorded a team-high 19 steals.
As a team, the Vikings average 71.6 points a game while holding their opponents to 63.1 points per game. Augie shoots 39 percent from the field and ranks second in the NSIC with 10.80 steals per game.
Augustana men are 10-2 on the year and 5-1 in the NSIC. The 10 wins are the most in the league this year while the 5-1 league record places them in a tie for first place. The Vikings are coming off a 74-72 win over Wayne State prior to the holiday break, a game that saw an even distribution on the offensive end. Three Vikings reached double figures while seven totaled eight or more points.
Junior Matt Cartwright is the team’s leading scorer at 16.1 points per game while sophomore Matt Todd averages 13.3 points per outing. The duo is joined by junior Tyler Riemersma, sophomore Michael Schaefer and sophomore Dylan LeBrun in double-figure scoring. Riemersma nearly averages a double-double of 12.2 points and 9.2 rebounds while Schaefer tallies 11.3 points and LeBrun 10.1 points per game.
One Last Thing
The Vikings women are 6-4 in games after the holiday break in the last decade. In the last decade, Augie has played SMSU once, Minnesota State twice, Sioux Falls twice, UMary once and Bemidji State and St. Cloud State twice in the first game of the new year.
Todd has emerged as one of the Vikings’ most efficient players and proving himself as an NSIC Newcomer of the Year candidate. The transfer from Highland Community College is second on the team in scoring at 13.3 points while shooting an efficient 43.8 percent from the field. With half of his makes coming from 3-point range, he is shooting 45.3 percent from deep.