HANCOCK, Mi. It was a dramatic comeback as the Finlandia University women’s basketball team (4-7) beat Viterbo (2-4) 56-55, Wednesday night at the Paavo Nurmi Center.
“Tonight was a great win for our club,” said head coach Mariah Dunham. “It was great for the simple fact that we have fought back in a lot of games but haven’t been able to win. This shows a lot of growth in our program to be able to finish a game from a comeback.”
Finlandia came out hotter than an egg frying on the sidewalk. Sophomore Mariah Austin knocked down a shot from outside of Paavo. That made it 15-6 with 5:06 to go.
The Lions held a six point lead at the end of the first period. Sophomore Katie Lundeen hit a bucket to make it 28-21, FinnU at the 7:49 mark. Viterbo took over and finished the period with a 16-2 run to lead by seven at halftime.
Finlandia made several runs at the V-Hawks in the third and fourth periods. Viterbo held the lead for almost the entire second half. A pair of charity tosses put the V-Hawks up 55-50 with 2:23 to go in the game.
Following a free throw, sophomore Harlee Froberg tossed down a triple from the top of the arc with 1:32 left. That closed the gap to 55-54.
With six seconds left, Froberg was fouled and hit two free throws to put the Lions up 56-55. Viterbo came down and put up a shot but Lundeen blocked it. Sophomore Carsyn Osterman got the rebound to secure the win.
“We started out hot,” said Dunham. “Sometimes that’s scary as a coach because we all know basketball is a game of runs. Overall I’m very proud of everyone.”
The Lions pulled down 30 defensive boards to 12 for Viterbo. They also held the V-Hawks to shoot just 30.4% from the floor.
For Finlandia, Lundeen had 17 points and 15 rebounds and junior Bailey Froberg had 11 points with three 3-pointers.
For Viterbo, Alyssa Nilssen had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Finlandia is home, Saturday, Dec. 7 playing UW-River Falls. The game is scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m.