The Gustavus women’s basketball team, which had its four-game winning streak snapped by Hamline last Saturday, jumped right back on the winning track on Wednesday night with a convincing 66-42 win at St. Olaf. Emily Nelson led Gustavus in scoring with 18 points. The Gusties improved to 15-7 overall and 13-6 in the MIAC with the victory.
St. Olaf entered the game having lost 13 of its last 14 games, however the Oles battled the Gusties straight up for the first seven minutes of the game as Gustavus held a slim 13-10 lead at the 13:00 minute mark. The Gusties, however would hold the Oles scoreless for the next nine minutes while out-scoring St. Olaf 10-0 to take a 13-point, 23-10 lead. During the scoring drought, the Oles were 0-8 from the field and committed nine turnovers, while the Gustie defensive pressure resulted in seven steals. St. Olaf went on a quick 5-0 run in the final :90 seconds of the half to cut the Gustavus lead to nine points at 30-21 at halftime. Neither team shot particularly well in the first 20 minutes as the Gusties were 12-of-32 from the field (37.5 percent) and the Oles were 8-of-25 (32.0 percent).
St. Olaf continued to cut into the Gustavus lead early in the second half and the Oles pulled to within six points of the Gusties at 34-28 with 16:21 remaining in regulation play. Gustavus, however, would outscore St. Olaf 17-3 over the next six minutes to take a commanding 51-31 lead with ten minutes left to play. The Oles would get no closer than 16 points the rest of the way as the Gusties claimed the convincing 24-point victory by the score of 66-42.
Emily Nelson was the only Gustavus player to reach double figures in scoring as she registered 18 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field (including 2-of-4 from behind the arc) and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Nelson leads the MIAC in free throw shooting percentage at 89.1 percent (49-55).
The Gusties, who are currently in fourth place in the MIAC with a record of 13-6, clinched a playoff berth with the win. Gustavus has advanced to the post-season tournament every year since the MIAC instituted its current six-team format in the 2000-01 season. The Gusties along with St. Ben’s and Carleton on the only teams to have qualified for the MIAC Playoffs in each of the past eight seasons.
Gustavus will host third place St. Thomas on Saturday at 1:00 pm on Gus Young Court. The Gusties defeated the Tommies 60-53 in St. Paul on January 17.