Augustana women's hoops team takes in Italy
The Augustana women's basketball team's first day in Italy involved a lot of sightseeing – and a lot of stepping.
In an article on the school's athletic website, sophomore guard Victoria Allen wrote that day one featured 30,000 steps while checking out the Colosseum in Rome and other sites.
The rest of the team's trip involved even more sightseeing and a lot of basketball, as the Vikings played three games against international competition during their visit last month.
Augustana head coach Mark Beinborn told Rock Island Today in an email interview that the NCAA allows teams to take international trips. That was something he was committed to doing when he first took the job four years ago. The team also went to Rio three years ago. Planning for the nine-day Italy trip started two years ago, he said.
“The team bonding that happens on a trip like this is amazing,” Beinborn said. “The time that we spend together and the experiences on these trips are incredible team bonding experiences.”
The team also took in the Vatican during its two days in Rome, where it also played its first game of the trip. In that contest, Augustana topped San Raffaelle 80-60. The Vikings pulled away from a tight halftime score for the win, outscoring the host team 38-20 in the final two quarters. Senior Kaycee Kallenberger led the Vikings with 17 points.
Next up on the Vikings' itinerary was a tour of Florence, and then on to Pesaro for three days of hanging out at the beach and shopping – along with Augustana's final two games of its trip.
The first game in Pesaro was an easy Vikings win. Augustana beat a junior team from Olympia Sport's School 91-26. Carly McCameron had 14 points to pace Augustana. In their final game, the Vikings won 73-28 over an Olympia Sport's School team comprised of junior and senior players.
“Basketball is basketball and even here, we face many teams that play different styles,” Beinborn said. “But we definitely played a much faster-paced game than the teams we played there.”
Allen wrote that the players exchanged T-shirts with their counterparts after each game, meaning that “there are three more teams proudly wearing navy and gold and representing Augie across the world.” And each time a Viking wears an Italian shirt, “we will remember this awesome team trip and the memories we made.”
Augustana is hoping for more good memories on the court this upcoming season. The Vikings have a lot of experience back from last year's squad that went 10-15, including a 5-9 mark in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.
“They played really well together on the trip and are working very hard to continue to improve as individuals while growing together,” Beinborn said. “We are very excited about this upcoming season as the program continues to move in the right direction.”
First action for the Vikings this season is at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at home against Rockford.