The Gustavus women’s basketball held St. Thomas to nine points and 3-of-16 shooting in the first half Monday night on the way to a 51-32 win at Schoenecker Arena in St. Paul. Jess Vadnais (So., Hudson, Wis.) led the Gusties with 17 points, followed by Bri Monahan (Jr., Hutchinson, Minn.) with 16. With the win, Gustavus avenged a 67-53 home loss to the Tommies earlier this season.
The Gusties jumped out to an early 8-0 lead fueled by five points by Monahan and a three-pointer by Erin Boese (Jr., Rochester, Minn.). A jumper by Shelly McCumber cut the lead to six points at 10-4, but five more points by Monahan and a three-pointer by Vadnais extended the lead to 18-4. St. Thomas’ hopes seemed to hit a wall when starting guard Melissa Katch, who had started all 19 games this season, left the game with an injury in the first half.
A Monahan lay-up with 1:00 remaining in the first half extended the Gustie lead to 25-9, ending a scoring drought for both teams that reached nearly four minutes. Kenzie Consoer (So., Mankato, Minn.) would add the final points of the half on a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining to give Gustavus a 18-point lead heading to the intermission.
The Gusties held St. Thomas to only 3-of-19 (19.0%) shooting and forced 17 turnovers in the first half to hold the Tommies scoreless over the final 7:13 of the period. Gustavus shot 10-of-25 from the field, including 5-of-9 from behind the three-point arc, collected eight steals and dished out eight assists. Monahan outscored the entire St. Thomas team with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and 2-of-3 from downtown. Erica Opdahl led the Toms with four first-half points.
The Tommies opened the second half on a 6-0 run behind four points by Opdahl to cut the Gustavus advantage to 27-15. The Gusties extended the lead back to 16 points at 31-15 following jumpers by Monahan and Vadnais. Three-pointers by Chelsea Wirtz and Anna Swanson sandwiched around a blown lay-up by Jess Vadnais allowed St. Thomas to cut the lead to ten points at 31-21 for the first time since early in the first half.
A mid-range jumper by Monahan with 10:37 remaining gave the Gusties a 14-point lead before a blocking foul sent the junior post player to the bench with three fouls. She wouldn’t remain on the bench long as Erin Boese soon found herself at the center of attention and picked up her third foul.
The Tommies would cut the lead to ten points on a field goal by Shara Guidry at 38-28 with 7:08 remaining, but Gustavus ended the game on a 13-4 run to put the game out of reach.
Jess Vadnais led all players with 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Monahan finished with 16 points following her monster first half, ending 7-of-11 from the field.
The Gusties finished the game shooting 19-of-50 from the field, including 7-of-18 from behind the three-point line. Gustavus also distributed the ball well, collecting 14 assists and forcing 27 turnovers and 13 steals. The Tommies finished the game hitting 9-of-16 (25 percent) of their shots. Opdahl led St. Thomas with 15 points. She was the only Tommy player to hit more than one field goal (2-8). Most of Opdahl’s damage was done at the free throw line, where she was 11-of-12. Gustavus, as a team, attempted only eight free throws, making six.
Gustavus, now 13-4 overall and 11-3 in the MIAC, will face Carleton Wednesday evening in Northfield. St. Thomas dropped 9-9 overall, 6-7 in the MIAC.