The Gustavus Adolphus women’s basketball team suffered a nail-biting 75-72 defeat at the hands of Concordia on Saturday afternoon in St. Peter, Minn. The Gusties got out to a fast start, leading by as many as 16 points in the first half. Concordia battled back to tie the game early in the second half, riding a 50 percent shooting performance in the final 20 minutes to the three-point victory.
With the win, Concordia improves to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the MIAC, while Gustavus falls to 2-3 overall and 1- in the MIAC.
Gustavus started the game on fire, taking a 17-4 lead and shooting 7-11 from the field in the first 6:31 seconds of the game. The Gusties largest advantage of the game came after a pair of free throws by Molly Geske at the 11:53 mark, extending the lead to 23-6. Geske led the Gusties in scoring in the half with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
The Cobbers closed the half with a 5-0 run, cutting the Gustavus lead to 39-36 at the break. Gustavus shot 50 percent (15-30) from the field in the first half, while Concordia shot 39.4 percent (13-33). Concordia turned the ball over nine times, yet out-rebounded Gustavus 20-17.
“Basketball is a game of runs, and when you play a team of Concordia’s caliber, we are going to get our run and they are going to get theirs. Then we are going to have to battle it out,” said Head Coach Mickey Haller.
Concordia’s turn for a run came at the start of the second period. The Cobbers tied the game at 42-42, scoring on their first four possessions of the half. From that point on, the score would change hands seven times and the game would be tied on 10 occasions. Concordia’s largest lead of the game came at the 8:49 mark when Erica Nord hit a jumper to put her team up 59-55. The Gusties took the lead back twice at the 6:49 and 2:55 marks, yet a deep three-pointer by Nord with 1:46 to play put Concordia up for good at 70-68. The Cobbers scored on their final three possessions of the game.
“It’s a two point game late, the lead switches a couple of times, and Concordia came out on top. Life is as life is, and that is just how it goes,” said Haller.
Molly Mathiowetz led all scorers in the second half, tallying 13 points and going 6-7 from the field. Concordia’s Nord recorded 12 second-half-points on 4-of-7 shooting. Gustavus was 13-35 (37.1%) from the field, and Concordia was 17-34 (50%).
Gustavus finished with three players in double-figures including Mathiowetz with 19 points (9-12), Geske with 16 (6-13), and Eli Benz with 15 (5-10). Mathiowetz was a rebound shy of a double-double for the second straight game, while Benz contributed eight boards of her own. Six different Cobber players hit double-digits, as Nord led the way with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
The Gusties were 28-65 (43.1%) from the field, 4-14 (28.6%) from three point range, and 12-14 (85.7%) from the line in the game. Concordia was 30-67 (44.8%) from the field, 9-19 (47.4%) from behind the arc, and 6-13 (46.2%) at the line. The Gusties won the turnover battle 14-9, yet Concordia had the edge in rebounding 42-37 and 18-13 on the offensive end.
“The fun part for our coaching staff is that we get to watch this team get better and better every game,” commented Haller. “Today, despite the loss, is another learning step for us. It is game two in the conference and Concordia is always a tough test for us.”
The Gustavus women’s basketball team will travel to Northfield, Minn. on Monday Nov. 6 for a game with St. Olaf. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.