The Gustavus women’s basketball team extended its win streak to 11 games Saturday afternoon with a 60-38 victory over Bethel University in Arden Hills, Minn. The Gusties improve to 14-2 overall and 12-1 in the MIAC, while the Royals fall to 9-6 on the year and 8-5 in league play.
Senior captain Molly Geske continued her scoring hot-streak with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field, accounting for a third of the team’s points as the only Gustie in double-digits.
The Royals led 6-4 to start the first three minutes of the game, but that was the last lead they saw on the day as a jumper by Eli Benz followed by a layup by Geske put the Gusties out in front for good. Gustavus scored ten unanswered points to lead 14-6 at the 12:37 mark before the Royals responded with 12-to-4 run over the next five minutes cutting the lead to two at 20-18. The Gusties buckled down on defense, though, and allowed just two points in the final seven minutes of the half and took a 28-20 lead into the locker room.
“We struggled trying to get the ball inside to our forwards in the first half,” head coach Mickey Haller acknowledged. “We went into the break and talked about cleaning up on the offensive side as our number one priority for the second.”
Bethel cut the lead to five (32-27) in the first 3:22 of the second, but the Gusties found their stride and progressively added to their lead for the remainder of the game until they reached their largest lead of the contest 60-38 at the final buzzer.
“Our players relaxed a bit more in the second and we were able to get the ball inside, which always works well for the offense we run,” Halled added. “Bethel is a tough team to beat on the road, but we reached one of our goals in keeping teams under forty points and won the battle of the boards.”
Gustavus did most of its damage from down low, outscoring the Royals 24-to-14 in points in the paint. The Gusties also had another strong showing from the bench with 22 points from their reserves compared to four off the Bethel bench. Gustavus shot 40.4-percent (23-of-57) from the floor, while the Royals were a cold 27.1-percent (13-of-48).
Abby Rothenbuehler hauled in a game-high ten rebounds and contributed six points. Colleen Ruane continued her stout defensive play with a game-high four steals.
Taylor Sheley led the way for the home team with 19 points on 6-of-20 shooting from the floor and tied a game-high ten boards. Kelly Swenson also posted double figures with 11 points.
The Gusties return home Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off against Carleton College at Gus Young Court. Gustavus won game one of the regular season series 73-31 on Dec. 5.