For Julie Galauner, a 15-point home loss to Wisconsin-Stout wasn’t just the day she became the leading scorer in Aurora University women’s basketball history.
The G-K grad and senior guard for the Spartans said the loss was kind of a turning point for the team, which has won three of four games since.
“I think that Stout game was kind of an awakening for us,” Galauner said. “We did not play our best at all. After that game we had really good talks with our teammates, we got together. ‘What’s not working?’ We can’t keep going on like this. We were on a little losing streak there. We knew we had to turn it around. We had really good talks, then the next game we go into North Central and we play really well.”
But whatever the rest of the season holds for the Spartans (6-7, 4-3 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference), the game was against Stout was historic. Her 17-point performance put her past the 1,693 points scored by Dana Lettow (Wagner) as the program’s all-time leading scorer.
“I try not to get too caught up in the records and all that stuff, but I do like to take a second after each game and just reflect on it,” Galauner said. “It’s really incredible. Dana, she had reached out to me the day of the game. She told me she wasn’t able to make it. She was planning on it but couldn’t. She just wanted to wish me luck and told me she’d be streaming it. Which I thought was so cool. I really appreciated the whole day and the whole moment even more special, knowing she was watching. It’s really cool knowing I hold that now and I’ve kind of left my mark on AU.”
It’s been a challenging year for Galauner, who missed the start of the season with an injured left middle finger. She’s been stuck in a splint since.
“It sucked for sure because it wasn’t even a real game,” Galauner said. “I’ve been playing with a splint for a month or so. I had to sit out for a few weeks there so that was really tough for me.”
Her game opened up against Stout, she said, when she stopped taping the splint to her ring finger. That opened her up to do more, when with the “buddy tape” she had trouble even dribbling.
“Since I stopped doing that I’ve had a lot more control,” Galauner said. “When I taped it to the other finger I could barely dribble. It was terrible. I’ve been a lot more comfortable without the second finger being taped.”
Not coincidentally, her two biggest games of the year came after she stopped taping the splint, putting up 20 against North Central then 27 in a loss to Benedictine – a loss that Galauner said she’s glad the team has a chance to avenge with a home match at the end of the year.
It’s not just her injury – the Spartans have been hard as a team with injuries and COVID-19 issues, and they haven’t played back-to-back scheduled games this month. Though that may change Saturday if the road game at Concordia (Wisconsin) goes on as planned after the team won, 64-55, at Concordia Chicago on Tuesday, with Galauner putting up a team-best 17.
“She’s been able to get back into a comfort zone and comfort level with that finger, which has been huge for us,” Aurora coach Ryan Rebsom said. “We’re getting healthy in other areas too, but I’ll be honest with you, that was a little bit of our struggles early was just not having her.”
Rebsom said there are no secrets when it comes to the AU scouting report – Galauner is going to be the go-to scorer. But since he came to the program four years ago, Rebsom said she’s been a professional both on and off the court.
“It’s just been a resounding joy for her and her process of becoming a pretty good scorer to becoming one the best, I feel, in the nation,” Rebsom said. “She has our respect and our confidence. And she’s immersed herself. She’s had one of the best experiences a student-athlete can have and she deserves it.”
Like Galauner, Rebsom said it was tough start to the season for the Spartans with the four-game losing streak in December.
Turning around the season is Galauner’s main focus right now, she said, but that hasn’t stopped her from recognizing what the scoring record means to her.
“I don’t think it’s hit me yet how truly huge of an accomplishment it is,” Galauner said. “I try to stay humble so I try not to get caught up in it. It’s huge. I know it is huge. Just thinking about to when I was a freshman coming into this school I was so shy and nervous. Just seeing my growth in the last five years, it’s really an incredible feeling knowing that I hold that record.”
And just like Lettow was able to watch Galauner break her record, Galauner hopes one day to do the same to whenever her mark is challenged.
“I hope someday someone beats it and I can see that for sure,” Galauner said. “That’s what it’s all about. But it’s an amazing feeling to know I hold that and people are going to know my name. That’s a really cool feeling for me.”