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Viterbo clips Waldorf in nail-biter

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Aaron Schneider

FOREST CITY – Viterbo University handed the Waldorf College women’s basketball team a 45-44 loss during Saturday’s North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) matchup.

The V-Hawks (2-10, 1-6) trailed by just one point with 14 seconds remaining in the game. Viterbo’s Riley Budde attacked the basket for a layup and her shot was blocked by Waldorf’s Mackenzie Gott. Budde secured the offense rebound and put back the layup to lift the V-Hawks to a one-point edge with eight seconds to play. The Warriors (1-9, 0-5) came up empty on a 3-pointer as time expired.

Viterbo outrebounded Waldorf by a 44-34 margin. The V-Hawks collected 18 offensive boards en route to an 11-1 advantage in second-chance points.

Plagued by missed opportunities, the Warriors shot 5-of-13 (38.5 percent) from the free-throw line. Viterbo converted on 1-of-4 (25 percent) attempts behind the stripe.

“In games when you aren’t shooting well, free throws are crucial,” Waldorf coach Katie Schutjer said. “Rebounds are crucial and details matter.”

The Warriors were led by Gott, who came off the bench to drop in a game-high 20 points. Gott, a 5-foot-11 senior forward from Oskaloosa attacked the basket to finish 10-of-16 (62.5 percent) from the field. Freshman Samantha Birkes also scored in double figures, providing 10 points and a team-high six rebounds.

“Mackenzie and Samantha both played very well,” Schutjer said.

Waldorf junior Miriah Carruth tallied seven points and freshman Taylor Fricke added four points. Junior Jamerka Martin turned in two points and junior Jenna Quina rounded out the scoring with one point.

Lauren Busse notched 14 points, shooting 5-of-9 (55.6 percent) from the floor to lead the V-Hawks. Arissa Geiser contributed another 10 points, going 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) from the field. Britney Hattamer finished with a team-high eight rebounds.

The Warriors made 19 of their 50 (38 percent) field-goal attempts while Viterbo went 18-of-61 (29.5 percent) from the floor. From 3-point range, the V-Hawks had the edge as they sank 8-of-20 (40 percent) attempts. Waldorf was held to a 1-of-14 (7.1-percent) performance from 3-point land.

“We had a lot of good shots that just did not fall for us,” Schutjer said.

The Warriors’ aggressive pursuit of the basket helped them outscore the V-Hawks 28-16 in the paint.

Viterbo committed 16 turnovers and Waldorf turned the ball over 14 times. The Warriors owned a 15-11 advantage in points off turnovers.

Opening the game with to quick baskets, the V-Hawks built an early a 5-0 lead. Waldorf responded with a 10-0 run, capturing a 10-5 lead with 3 minutes, 9 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Viterbo trailed by three points two times before the Warriors pulled ahead to a 20-12 advantage at halftime.

The V-Hawks steadily chipped away at Waldorf’s lead until they evened the score at 26-all with 4:59 left in the third quarter. Gott and Birkes scored on back-to-back possessions to expand the Warriors’ lead to four points, but Busse and Geiser drilled 3-pointers to give Viterbo a 32-30 lead with 1:17 to go in the third quarter. Carruth responded with a layup to knot the score at 32-all. Heidi Huebner added a basket before the end of the quarter to give Viterbo a 34-32 lead.

Fricke knocked down a 3-pointer with 8:08 to play, putting Waldorf back in front 35-34. Waldorf increased its lead to five points with 6:24 remaining and once again owned a five-point advantage with 5:41 to go. Viterbo evened the score at 41-all with 2:15 left on the clock following a 3-pointer from Budde and a layup from Geiser.

The Warriors and V-Hawks traded baskets on the following two possessions with a layup from Gott and a jumper from Hattamer. Fricke was fouled with 38 seconds remaining and made one of two free throws to give Waldorf a 44-43 lead. Budde came through for Viterbo in crunch time, cashing in for a layup off a big offensive rebound and putting the V-Hawks on top for good.

Looking to rebound, the Warriors make a 10-hour road trip to face Dickinson State University (8-2, 0-0) in Tuesday’s 5:30 p.m. (MST) conference matchup at Dickinson, North Dakota. The Blue Hawks are ranked No. 19 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II poll.