The Gustavus women’s basketball team took a 14-point lead into the halftime break, but let it all slip away in the second half, falling to Carleton 57-53 Wednesday night in Northfield. Sophomore guard Jess Vadnais (Hudson, Wis.), who finished with a game-high 19 points, was held without a field-goal attempt in the second half.
The Gusties jumped out to an early 16-6 lead behind a pair of three-pointers by Vadnais and another by junior Bri Monahan (Hutchinson, Minn.). Jumpers by Megan Vig, Annie Isler and Anna Biewen helped cut the lead to five points (18-13) with 9:06 to play in the first half, but Gustavus responded with a 12-2 run, capped off by back-to-back treys by Erin Boese (Jr., Rochester, Minn.) and Vadnais, to lead 30-15.
Two straight buckets by Vig coupled with a pair of misses by Monahan knocked the Gustie lead back to 11 points before Monahan finally found the bottom of the net with a three-pointer with 1:50 left on the clock. A lay-up by Kenzie Consoer (So., Mankato, Minn.) gave Gustavus a 35-19 with 1:23 to play in the first half. The 16-point lead was the Gusties’ largest of the game. A jumper by Megan Vig as time expired cut the lead to 35-21 at intermission.
Gustavus finished the first half hitting 8 of 14 attempts from three-point range, led by Vadnais with four.
The Gusties struggled from the field to open the second half, missing 13 of its first 15 shots. The Knights responded, outscoring Gustavus 15-6 to trail by only five points at 41-36 with 11:48 to play in regulation. During the stretch, while picking up 11 defensive rebounds. Anna Biewen and Hannah Oken-Berg combined for 11 of Carleton’s 15 points.
The trend would continue as the Knights cut the Gustie lead to one point at 47-46 with 5:24 remaining before a pair of free throws by Vadnais pushed the lead back to three points.
Carleton took its first lead of the second half with 2:01 remaining as Hannah Oken-Berg knocked in a pair of free throws to give the Knights a 51-50 lead. Five more free throws over the next 1:33 extended the Carleton lead to 56-50.
A Sarah Lincoln foul of a Vadnais three-point attempt put the MIAC’s leading free throw shooter at the line with 11 seconds to play. Vadnais converted all three attempts to make it a one-possession game at 56-53. The Gusties fouled Megan Vig almost immediately following the inbounds pass, sending her to the line for two shots. Vig missed her first attempt, but made the second to secure the 57-53 come-from-behind victory.
After combining for 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting in the first half, Vadnais and Monahan were held to nine points in the second half. Vadnais picked up all seven of her second-half points at the free throw line and was held without a field goal attempt. Monahan was held to 1-of-10 shooting from the field and was kept away from the charity stripe.
The Gusties shot only 4-of-28 (14.3 percent) from the field in the second half, including a 1-of-12 (8.3 percent) clip from three-point range. Gustavus also struggled from the free throw line during the period, making 9-of-19 attempts. Carleton also outscored the Gusties 14-2 in the paint and 7-2 in second chance points in the second half.
Vadnais finished with a game-high 19 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field (all three-pointers) and 7-of-9 from the charity stripe. Monahan added 13 points on 5-of-22 shooting. Emily Nelson (Fy., Mankato, Minn.) and Sara Boldt (Sr., Faribault, Minn.) each added five point for the Gusties.
Vig controlled play inside in the second half for the Knights, scoring nine points and pulling down seven rebounds in the second half. She finished with 19 points and 13 boards for her sixth double-double of the season. Biewen added 11 points off the bench for Carleton, which improves to 12-8 overall, 10-5 in the MIAC.
The loss drops the Gusties to 13-5 overall, 11-5 in the MIAC. Gustavus, which entered the game having won nine of its last ten games overall, will host Saint Mary’s Saturday evening.