St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus women’s basketball team snapped its three-game losing-skid with an 89-81 victory over Carleton College on Saturday afternoon at Gus Young Court. The Gusties turned in their best scoring performance of the season and finished with four players in double figures.
Gustavus improves to 6-5 overall and 3-5 in the MIAC with the win, while Carleton drops to 4-6 overall and 2-5 in the MIAC with the loss.
“We knew coming into this game that in order to be successful we had to get touches inside and we had to use our size and rebound,” said Head Coach Laurie Kelly. “The game was played at the tempo they like with a lot of possessions and a lot of points scored. What helped us win the game was the fact that we got a combined 35 points from our two post players and we beat them on the glass 47-26. We excelled in the areas we needed to and were finally able to knock down some shots that simply have not fallen for us as of late.”
Sophomores Karina Schroeder (Lake Crystal, Minn.) and Anna Lundquist (Rochester, Minn.) were the posts Coach Kelly was referring to. Despite being in foul trouble for much of the second half, Schroeder scored a total of 20 points after going 7-for-14 from the field and 6-for-9 at the free throw line. The Lake Crystal product recorded her fourth double-double of the season after bringing down a game-high 12 rebounds (7 defensive).
When Schroeder got into foul trouble early in the second half, it was Anna Lundquist taking her spot and providing the Gustie offense with a spark. Lundquist finished the game with a career-high 14 points after scoring 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field in the second half. She also ended up with a total of eight rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end.
“Anna answered the call when Karina was in foul trouble,” said Kelly. ”She truly was the difference for us down the stretch.”
Although Gustavus held a 43-34 lead at halftime, the Knights refused to go away in the second half and eventually battled back to bring the score to within three points at 57-54 with 10:33 left to play. Gustavus answered with a 6-1 run to go up 63-55, but Carleton responded with a seven point swing to cut the lead to one (63-62) with 7:48 remaining.
The Gusties buckled down and made an 8-0 run of their own to go up nine points at 71-62 with 5:02 left on the clock. Carleton cut the lead to five (79-74) with 2:25 left, yet came no closer, as Gustavus scored seven of the next 11 points to build up a 12-point advantage (88-76) with :35 seconds remaining.
Carleton shot 53.8-percent from the field in the second half, but Gustavus countered with a 59.4-percent shooting performance.
The Black and Gold finished the game over the 45-percent mark as a team for the first time this January, going 35-for-75 (46.7%) from the field, 3-for-12 (25%) from three-point range, and 16-for-25 (64%) at the free throw line.
Gustavus controlled the glass from the start, finishing with a 47-to-26 rebounding edge, which included a 22-to-4 advantage on the offensive glass.
To go along with the combined 35 points from Schroeder and Lundquist, Julia Dysthe (Sr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) turned in 21 points to lead all scorers. She went 7-for-16 from the floor and 6-for-8 at the line. Britta Rinke (Sr., Waconia, Minn.) also scored in double-figures, adding 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Rachelle Blaschko (Sr., Henderson, Minn.) had her best overall game of the season, scoring eight points (3-9) and dishing out a career-best 11 assists.
“We’ve struggled to score this month because we simply haven’t had anyone shoot the ball well. Today we had a players step up and knock down shots,” said Kelly about today’s improved shooting performance. “Our top scorers were complimented by a bench that scored 22 points and a point guard that not only added eight points but also had 11 assists. When we accomplish those goals, you see that this is a very capable scoring team.”
Carleton shot 48.1-percent (25-52) from the field, 38.5-percent (10-26) from three, and 77.8-percent (21-27) at the line. The Knights also finished with four players in double-figures, as Jenny Ramey led the way with 19 points. Skylar Tsutsui and Emma Purfeerst both scored 16 points, and Gabbi Stienstra added 14.
“We had some soul searching to do after our last three losses and we had to decide what path we were going to go down,” concluded Kelly. “It’s a 20 game conference season and we are only seven games in, but we needed this win not only for our confidence but to steer us down the right path.”
The Gustavus women’s basketball team will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 15 when it plays host to the University of St. Thomas at 7:30 p.m. on Gus Young Court.