Photo by the Siux Falls Argus Leader Augustana senior point guard Sophie Kenney averages 10.5 points and 4.7 points per game. The former Fargo Shanley standout will have a homecoming this weekend, as the Auggies travel to take on Minnesota State Moorhead 4 p.m. Saturday at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse in Moorhead.
MOORHEAD—When Sophie Kenney was in elementary school, she had a mini Phoenix Suns basketball she used to shoot baskets in her driveway.
The Augustana senior women's basketball player would imagine herself as former Suns point guard Steve Nash, who won two NBA most valuable player awards in Phoenix.
"I was obsessed with Steve Nash," said Kenney, a Fargo Shanley graduate. "I liked watching his highlights ... his style of play and passes."
These days, Kenney is running the show for the Augustana in Sioux Falls, S.D. A 5-foot-9 point guard, she's averaging 10.5 points and 4.7 assists per game. Entering this weekend, Kenney ranks second in assists in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Her Vikings play at Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D., tonight and at Minnesota State Moorhead at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Dragons host Wayne State at 6 p.m. today.
Saturday at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse will be a homecoming of sorts for Kenney, who was was a standout player at Shanley.
"I'm excited because I will have family, people from Shanley and other friends at the game," Kenney said. "It's going to be one of our toughest road challenges (both games), if not the toughest road challenge, this season."
Since Augustana and MSUM are in separate divisions, the Vikings haven't played in Moorhead the previous two seasons. The Dragons (15-4, 12-4 NSIC) are tied for first place in the North Division with Northern State. Augustana (17-5, 11-5) is in third place in the South Division.
The last time Augustana played at MSUM was during the 2012-13 season. Kenney didn't play in that game, missing all but one game that season with a knee injury and taking a medical redshirt.
"She's kind of been a player that you put in the category where she's paid her dues," Augustana head coach Dave Krauth said. "She has a really good work ethic."
Kenney started all 31 games for the Vikings last season and averaged 8.7 points and 3.1 assists per game. She's started all 22 games this season for Augustana, including a 28-point performance in a 96-93 double overtime home win against Minnesota State-Mankato in early December.
Kenney leads the NSIC in assists-to-turnover ratio at 3.3-to-1, and takes pride in being a "pass-first" point guard.
"I know I'm doing my job if I'm getting my teammates involved," Kenney said. "I'm probably one of those players who gets more excited when I get my teammate an opportunity."
Krauth said Kenney has played with more confidence this season compared to earlier in her career with the Vikings.
"She has a strong personality," Krauth said. "She's a leader both from and effort standpoint, and verbally, too. She has really stepped into that role."