Sophomore guard Jess Vadnais (Hudson, Wis.) scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Gustavus women’s basketball team to a 67-44 victory over Augsburg Saturday afternoon in St. Peter. First-year Emily Nelson (Mankato, Minn.) added 10 points, while senior Sara Boldt (Faribault, Minn.) and junior Erin Boese (Rochester, Minn.) finished with nine points for the Gusties, who moved to 17-5 overall, 15-4 in the MIAC.
It was Senior Day at Gus Young Court and the Gusties jumped out to an early 5-0 lead on the backs of a pair of those seniors. Point guard Michelle Linbo (Rochester, Minn.) opened the game with a short jumper, and following an Auggie turnover, Missy Mills (Sr., Barron, Wis.) drained a three-pointer from the top of the key.
Augsburg would cut the lead to a single point at 7-6 with 16:39 to play in the first half, but the Gusties embarked on a 18-4 run over the next ten minutes to lead 25-10. Emily Nelson led Gustavus with six points during the stretch. Backed by 14 points off the bench (12 by Vadnais) and 15 points off 17 Augsburg turnovers, the Gusties took a 36-20 lead into the halftime break.
Gustavus scored the first seven points of the second half to lead 43-20 with 18:21 to play in the game. The Gustie lead grew to 25 points before the Auggies offense got on track. Trailing 53-30 with 13:21 to play, Augsburg scored six straight points over the next four minutes to cut the lead to 17. The Auggies got no closer than 17 points and were held to three points over the games final 5:20.
Rosinta Stromquist scored ten of her team-high 14 points in the first half, including eight straight points for the Auggies toward the end of the first half.
Vadnais led all players with 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting. The versatile guard also grabbed six rebounds, four assists, four steals and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the the free throw line. Nelson finished 4-of-10 from the field for ten points. Boldt and Boese each finished with nine points, with Boldt also contributing four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block to the cause. Boese finished with a game-high five steals, three rebounds, two blocks and two assists.
Kenzie Consoer (So., Kasota, Minn.) finished with a game-high eight rebounds, six points, two assists and two steals.
The Gusties racked up 22 steals as a team, the most since collecting 25 in a 94-54 win over Bethel on Jan. 17, 2004.
The Gusties picked up the win despite not having the services of junior post player Bri Monahan (Hutchinson, Minn.) and her 19.2 point per game average. Monahan was held out of the game due to an illness.
The win, combined with a Carleton loss to St. Olaf, assured the Gusties of a top-three finish in the regular season standings. The result also kept hopes alive for a first-round bye in the MIAC Playoffs.
The Gusties (17-5, 15-4 MIAC) will face Macalester (2-19) in a non-conference match-up Wednesday evening in St. Peter and will wrap-up the regular season with a key game against league-leader Saint Ben’s (19-4, 15-3 MIAC) next Saturday, also in St. Peter.