The Gustavus women’s basketball jumped out to an early 13-0 lead on MIAC co-leader Concordia Wednesday night, but the Cobbers rallied in the second half, capturing a 65-63 win over the Gusties in Moorhead. Jessica Heintz scored on a jumper with five seconds to play to put Concordia ahead for good.
Gustavus preyed on early Concordia turnovers to build a quick 13-0 lead over the game’s first eight-and-a-half minutes. The Cobbers committed ten turnovers and missed four shots from the field before Heintz put Concordia on the board with a three-pointer with 11:30 to play in the first half. The Gusties maintained a double-digit lead throughout most of the first half, but Concordia outscored Gustavus 7-2 over the final 3:37 of the first half. The Cobbers capped off the run by an Anne Keeley three-pointer with 27 seconds left in the period to cut the Gustie lead to 31-25 at halftime. Gustavus held the slim lead despite forcing 14 first-half turnovers and holding Concordia to only 18 field goal attempts.
Any momentum the Gusties had in the first half seemed to evaporate as the second half began. The Cobbers slowly chipped away at the lead until the first of two free throws by MIAC co-Women’s Basketball Player of the Week Melanie Hageman tied the game at 45-45 with 9:23 remaining in the game. Hageman gave Concordia a one-point lead with a second free throw. A three-pointer by guard Ashley Raymo (Fy., Worthington, Minn.) allowed the Gusties to steal the lead back just moments later.
The Gusties held a five-point lead at 53-48 with seven minutes to play, but Concordia remained in the game, outscoring Gustavus 8-3 over the next 2:30 to tie the game at 56-56. Five straight missed field goals attempts by the Gusties allowed the Cobbers to take a five-point lead at 62-57 with 2:11 to play, Concordia’s largest lead of the day. Emily Nelson (Fy., Mankato, Minn.) drained a three-pointer after two unsuccessful attempts to cut the lead to 62-60 with 1:37 remaining and then hit another with 33 seconds left on the clock to tie the score at 63-63 after Cobber center Tori Ehlert was only able to convert one of two free throw attempts.
After successfully running down the clock, Heintz dropped in a jumper to give the Cobbers a 65-63 lead with five seconds to play.
Jess Vadnais (So., Hudson, Wis.), who led all scorers in the first half with 12 points, was held to only one point in the second half. Bri Monahan (Jr., Hutchinson, Minn.), the MIAC’s other co-Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, was largely held in check. She finished with 11 points, four rebounds and three steals. Emily Nelson finished with 11 points and five rebounds off the bench.
Hageman, who was held to two points in the first half, erupted for 15 points in the second half for the Cobbers to finish with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 shooting from the free throw line. Sarah Krabbenhoft and Ehlert each added 10 points and four rebounds for Concordia.
After shooting 44 percent from the field in the first half, the Cobbers improved their shooting to 62.5 percent in the second half. Concordia was also 8-of-12 from the charity stripe in the second half, while Gustavus could only convert 7-of-14 opportunities from the free throw line.
The Cobbers move into sole possession of the lead in the MIAC with the victory, improving to 11-4 overall, 10-2 in the league. The Gusties fall into second place with a 11-5 mark, 9-3 in the MIAC. Concordia also claimed the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Gustavus by completing the season sweep.
Gustavus, which had a seven-game winning streak snapped, will face College of St. Catherine Saturday afternoon in St. Paul.