The Gustavus Adolphus College women’s basketball team used a 7-0 run in the final three minutes of the first half and a 9-0 run in the first two minutes of the second half to break open a tight game and claim a convincing 72-55 win over Bethel in St. Peter on Wednesday night. Jess Vadnais led Gustavus in scoring with 23 points. With the win, the Gusties (who are currently alone in second place with a record of 12-2) set up a showdown with first place St. Ben’s (13-1) on Saturday at 3:00 pm in St. Peter.
Gustavus jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the first five minutes of the game, however the Royals scored five straight points to take a one-point lead at 11-10 with 12:51 left in the half. The Gusties slowly built the lead up to six again at 24-18 with 6:46 on the clock. Bethel once again chipped away at the lead and tied the score at 26-26 with 3:43 left in the half. The Gusties, however would outscore the Royals 9-0 in the final three minutes and take a 35-26 lead into the lockerroom at the intermission.
The Royals turned the ball over the first three times they touched the ball in the second half and the Gusties took advantage of the Bethel miscues by scoring seven quick points. The lead quickly jumped to 16 points at 42-26 with 18:09 left to play. The Royals countered with six straight points to cut the lead to ten at 42-32, but that is as close as they would get the rest of the game. Gustavus pushed its lead to 20 points (62-42) on a layup by Ashley Raymo with 5:23 left in the game and held its biggest lead of the game at 22 points when Bri Monahan scored to make the score 72-50 with 2:00 left on the clock.
Jess Vadnais led all scorers with 23 points including 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Other Gusties in double figures were Bri Monahan with 13 and Julia Schultz with 12. Katie Layman turned in a fine performance off the bench as she scored six points, grabbed six rebounds, dished off three assists, and recorded three steals in 22 minutes of play. Gustavus shot 39.1 percent from the field (27-69), 30.8 percent from behind the arc (4-13), and 66.7 percent from the free throw line (14-21).
Bethel was led by Sarah Cotner with 16 points and Bridget Weber with 10 points. Cotner, who was 6-for-12 from the field, also snagged 10 reobunds. The Royals shot 38.2 percent from the field (21-55), 29.4 percent from behind the arc (5-17), and 40.0 percent from the free throw line (8-20).
Gustie senior Bri Monahan made 3-of-6 free throws in the game to move her into first place all-time at Gustavus in career free throws made with 263. Jen Klohs (2000-2004) held the previous record with 260.
The Gusties will now get ready to face St. Ben’s on Saturday in St. Peter. The Blazers defeated Carleton 77-67 in Northfield on Wednesday night to improve to 13-1. Should the Gusties be able to defeat St. Ben’s on Saturday, they would move into a first place tie with the Blazers with seven games remaining in MIAC regular season play. St. Ben’s defeated Gustavus 67-52 in St. Joseph back on December 6. The game will be broadcast over the internet through the live broadcasts link on the Gustavus Athletics home page.