The Gustavus women’s basketball team erased an early deficit and battled back for a 58-48 victory over Augsburg on Wednesday night in Minneapolis. The Gusties ended their three-game road trip with consecutive wins and move to 3-1 in the MIAC and 5-2 overall, while the Auggies fall to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
Augsburg jumped out to a 12-4 lead at the 8:34 mark in the first half after a three-pointer by Katie Ahlstrom, but the Gusties slowly chipped away and took the lead with 6:34 remaining in the first (17-16). Serenae Levine put in a layup for the Auggies as time expired in the first, cutting their deficit to three at the break.
Both teams traded points throughout the first ten minutes of the second, but the Black and Gold eventually pulled away by converting eight of their final 11 free throw attempts to secure the victory.
“Augsburg is a quality team, they gave us a battle, but we simply refused to quit,” head coach Mickey Haller said. “They turned the ball over a couple times and that’s all we needed. It was our game tonight and we earned it with a great team effort.”
The Gusties generated 11 points off 16 Augsburg turnovers, including nine team steals. Molly Geske and Colleen Ruane each had three steals for Gustavus. But this game was won down on the blocks. The Gusties out-scored the Auggies 24-to-16 in the paint with Eli Benz offering a significant contribution to that tilt. Benz scored a team-high 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field and 4-for-4 from the line. Kelsey Florian also tallied double-digit scoring with 11 points.
“Our key players tonight were our four’s and five’s,” Haller acknowledged. “Kelsey, Eli, (Abby) Rothenbuehler and (Amanda) Iverson all performed well. We are fortunate to have depth at that position.”
Abby Rothenbuehler registered a game-high 11 rebounds with four points, while Amanda Iverson chipped in six points and four boards.
Each team shot relatively similar from the field – Gustavus 38.3-percent, Augsburg 35.4-percent – but one deciding factor was made at the charity stripe. The Gusties made 13-of-19 free throws in the second half and out-scored the Auggies at the line 18-to-11.
Gustavus continues MIAC action Saturday with a 3:00 p.m. home match-up at Gus Young Court against Saint Benedict. The Blazers defeated St. Catherine 93-63 Wednesday night and have a 5-2 overall record and 2-2 mark in the MIAC.