College basketball: Augustana snaps No. 10 UMD’s 14-game winning streak
Olson becomes Bulldogs’ second all-time leading scorer but UMD fails to take advantage of late technical foul on opposing coach.
DULUTH — While most of the crowd was still trying to figure out what happened Saturday at Romano Gym, Minnesota Duluth senior forward Brooke Olson clapped her hands and cracked a big smile with 16 seconds remaining in the Bulldogs’ women’s basketball game against Augustana.
Olson knew right away that veteran Vikings coach Dave Krauth had received a technical foul, giving UMD a golden opportunity to pull the game out.
Unfortunately for the home team, that didn’t happen as Augustana held on for a 53-51 victory over the nationally 10th-ranked Bulldogs before 500 fans who came out to watch the NSIC’s divisional leaders, snapping UMD’s 14-game winning streak.
Krauth, who is in his 34th and final season as Augie’s head coach, is fifth among active NCAA Division II coaches with 688 wins and 20th among all divisions. He said if the Vikings would have lost due to him, via his technical foul, it would have been a first.
“It’s been years and years since I got a technical foul, and let’s just say that was quite unusual the way that was handled,” Krauth said. “It upset me, quite honestly, but you’ve got to give our kids credit. They just fought and made plays.
“(Had we lost) that would have hurt for a while, but what overrides everything is just the way our kids competed, and they did.”
Fortunately for Krauth, that technical foul turned out to be nothing but a moot point.
Lauren Sees had 22 points to lead Augustana (19-3 overall, 13-3 NSIC), athletic and strong driving to the hoop or pulling up for short jumpers. Teammates Michaela Jewett (13 points) and Aislinn Duffy (12) also scored in double figures for the Vikings.
Olson finished with 24 points and six rebounds for UMD (18-3, 15-1) while Maesyn Thiesen, who recently cracked the top five in all-time assists for the Bulldogs, added 12 points and five rebounds.
“We’d rather lose a game right now than down the stretch,” Olson said. “We’ll learn a lot from this, we’ll take a lot from this and hopefully respond.”
Olson now has 2,129 career points, surpassing Lindsey Dietz (2002-06, 2,114 points) for second all-time at UMD. Dietz was in attendance Saturday as part of Alumni Day.
Olson, however, would have wanted at least two more.
After Krauth was T’d up, with Augie leading 51-49, the Vikings’ Michaela Jewett made one of two free throws, making it Augustana 52-49. Then it was UMD’s turn as Thiesen made both technical foul shots, making it 52-51.
And the Bulldogs had the ball.
“I didn’t think that was going to happen,” Olson said. “I thought we would have been fouling.”
UMD dumped it inside to Olson, who did a terrific job spinning out of a double team to get to the hoop but came up short. She thought she was fouled but didn’t get the call.
“(Coach) Mandy (Pearson) drew up a great play,” Olson said. “Fantastic play. She coached a great game down the stretch. She gave me the best opportunity.”
UMD was forced to foul, Augie made another free throw making it 53-51, and Cromwell’s Taya Hakamaki came up short on a runner from a tough angle near the corner and just inside the 3-point line.
“The technical didn’t seem like it bothered them,” Krauth said of his team. “They just played. ‘Grit’ is really a good word for them. It was the kind of a game I was hoping for, against the top team in the league. It turned out that way.”
Krauth laughed when being asked how his team wasn’t ranked.
“We’ve been disrespected so many times in my 34 years, in the regional rankings and so forth,” Krauth said. “Rankings — whatever. It’s something you can’t control. You just have to try to not worry about it.”
Minnesota Duluth returns to NSIC action at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, at Minnesota State Moorhead.
While Saturday ended with a loss, it had a playoff-like atmosphere. It was intense. Augustana came in averaging 76 points per game — 20th in the country, but found itself trailing 18-16 at the half.
Augustana shot only 37% for the game but UMD was even worse at 30.5% as both teams often lacked rhythm offensively.
Like a lot of teams this time of year, UMD is trying to get healthy — junior guard Ella Gilbertson could be seen on the sideline rocking a walking boot — but the experience of a hard fight couldn’t hurt.
“We’ll come out to practice ready to work, ready to play and just get better,” Olson said. “We didn’t have a good offensive night but I thought we played a really good defensive game. There’s some positive things we can take from this. We know they’re one of the best teams in the country, but we are, too.”
Minn. Duluth 11-7-12-21—51
Augustana — Aislinn Duffy 12, Jennifer Aadland 2, Lauren Sees 22, Michaela Jewett 13, Kenzie Rensch 2, Aby Phipps 2. Totals 20 11-15 53.
3-point goals — Duffy, Jewett.
Minnesota Duluth — Brooke Olson 24, Taytum Rhoades 9, Madelyn Granica 6, Maesyn Thiesen 12. Totals 18 9-11 51.
3-point goals — Olson 3, Granica, Thiesen 2.
Vikings fend off Bulldogs’ rally
Minnesota Duluth’s chances appeared slim to none in the closing seconds Saturday before 688 at Romano until one of the rarest plays occurred.
It started with a mad scramble under the net, with the basketball getting frantically kicked out to UMD sharpshooter Drew Blair, who knew what to do with it.
While Blair let cast a 3-pointer, draining it, teammate Joshua Strong got trampled in front of him, drawing a foul. Strong promptly made both free throws, creating a five-point play that saw the Bulldogs go from down 83-77 to only trailing by a point at 83-81.
“Like I told our guys in the huddle — hey, we’ve got a chance,” UMD coach Justin Wieck said.
After a pair of free throws by Augie, Strong’s 3-pointer came up short. UMD forced a jump ball but the Vikings retained possession and a pair of free throws by Isaac Fink with 3.5 seconds remaining sealed it.
“We fought like crazy to give ourselves a chance at the end,” Wieck said.
Fink and Ryan Miller had 18 points apiece to lead Augustana (11-11 overall, 7-9 NSIC) while Drew Blair had 33 points to lead the Bulldogs (15-7, 11-5). Blair, who isn’t even 100% healthy, was 6 of 10 from 3-point range.
Wieck joked that UMD could use a bye week to rest some players.
“It’s tough when you can’t prepare the way you want to, but nobody is going to feel sorry for us,” Wieck said. “Our trainer, Sami Woolson, is earning her money this year.”
Statistically, the teams were very similar except Augie had a 34-25 advantage in rebounding and shot better from the free-throw line, making 20 of 21 compared to 23 of 32 for the Bulldogs.
UMD, which trailed 43-36 at the half, found itself trailing most of the game.
Minnesota Duluth hits the road next week starting with an NSIC game at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, at Minnesota State-Moorhead.
“That’s the heartbreak and beauty of basketball,” Wieck said. “Last year we made the shots to win the close games, but we haven’t hit as many this year. But I still know we’ve got a good team.”
Minn. Duluth 36-46—82
Augustana — Jadan Graves 17, Akoi Akoi 12, Isaac Fink 18, Ryan Miller 18, Bennett Otto 3, Caden Hinker 5, Sam Rensch 12, Jackson Loge 2. Totals 29 20-21 87.
3-pointers — Graves 2, Fink 2, Miller 3, Rensch 2.
Minnesota Duluth — Charlie Katona 10, Austin Andrews 13, Joshua Strong 9, Jack Middleton 1, Drew Blair 33, Joshua Brown 10, Mattie Thompson 4, Lincoln Meister 2. Totals 25 23-32 82.
3-pointers — Strong 2, Blair 6, Brown.