Sophomore guard Jess Vadnais (Hudson, Wis.) scored a game-high 26 points as the Gustavus women’s basketball team picked up a 78-70 season-opening win over Wartburg College Tuesday night in Waverly, Iowa. Junior Bri Monahan (Hutchinson, Minn.) added 15 points despite sitting out most of the second half with foul trouble.
The Gusties fell behind early, allowing the Knights to take a 5-0 lead three minutes into the game. Gustavus would rebound, though, behind ten points each from guards Sara Boldt (Sr., Faribault, Minn.) and Vadnais to take a 42-30 halftime lead. Boldt was 4-of-6 from the field in the first half, while also pulling down four offensive rebounds. As a team, the Gusties outshot the Knights, 53.3% (16-of-30) to 36.0% (9-of-25) during the first 20 minutes.
After two quick fouls to start the second half sent Monahan to the bench with four, the Knights began to creep back into the game. Taking advantage of the void left by Monahan’s absence on the floor, Wartburg converted a number of layups and other shots in the paint, an area of the court the Knights had little access to in the first half. Wartburg closing the deficit to little as three points on numerous occasions, hitting 50% of their shots on 14-of-28 shooting, but could get no closer. The Gusties hit eight straight free throws in the final two minutes to secure the 78-70 victory.
For the game, Vadnais led all scorers with 26 points in 37 minutes of play, including 16 in the second half. Vadnais shot only 4-of-10 from the field for the game, but was clutch from the line, hitting 12-of-14 free throws. She also had team-highs with five assists and four steals. Monahan picked up 15 points and six rebounds in just 21 minutes after her early second half foul trouble. She played only seven minutes in the second half. Boldt added 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while sophomores Kenzie Consoer (Mankato, Minn.) and Vicky Peterson (Plymouth, Minn.) played big minutes in the post, especially in the second half. Consoer had eight points and a game-high seven rebounds in 19 minutes of play, while Peterson tallied two points and two rebounds in 13 minutes.
The Knights were led by Megan Hendricks and Elizabeth Campbell who combined for 31 points and ten rebounds. Diana Mullins added ten points off the bench.
Gustavus cooled off a bit from the field in the second half, dipping their shooting percentage for the game to 44.6% on 25-of-56 shooting. While the Gusties did very well from the free throw line (25-of-30), they also struggled mightily from behind the arc (3-of-18).
The Gusties improve to 1-0, while the Knights fall to 2-1. Coach Mickey Haller’s squad moves forward, participating this weekend in the UW-Eau Claire Thanksgiving Classic. Gustavus will open the tournament Friday, November 25 with a game against Luther. The Gusties will face either UW-Eau Claire or St. Scholastica in Saturday’s match-up. Friday’s result will determine when Gustavus plays on Saturday.