The Gustavus women’s basketball team capitalized on 30 Saint Mary’s turnovers to post a 72-37 victory over the Cardinals Saturday afternoon in St. Peter. The Gusties lead from the start scoring the game’s first seven points and hitting each of their first nine field goal attempts. Junior post Bri Monahan (Hutchinson, Minn.) picked up six of Gustavus’ first eight points to lead in the early going.
A stingy defense forced the Cardinals into 16 first-half turnovers, which were converted into 21 Gustie points. Gustavus held Saint Mary’s scoreless for a period of nearly six minutes in the latter portion of the half before Alyse Coates converted on a lay-up with 2:36 to play in the first half. The Gusties, led by Monahan and forward Erin Boese (Jr., Rochester, Minn.), also took a commanding 20-6 advantage in points in the paint in the first half as the teams headed toward intermission with Gustavus holding a 44-13 lead.
Gustie head coach Mickey Haller substituted liberally in the second half as the game’s result was never in question. Emily Nelson (Fy., Mankato, Minn.) scored six of her nine points in extended play off the bench.
After shooting 55.6 percent (15-27) in the first half, the Gusties cooled down in the second, shooting just 36 percent (9-25) to finish at 46.2 percent for the game. The Cardinals, which had struggled to shoot 5-of-25 in the first half, rebounded with a 10-of-22 performance in the second to finish at 31.9 percent for the game.
Jess Vadnais (So., Hudson, Wis.) and Monahan each scored 18 points to lead the Gusties, who recorded 15 steals and blocked four shots. Vadnais finished 5-of-8 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line, while also collecting six assists, three rebounds and a steal. Monahan shot 7-of-13 from the field and finished with a team-high five rebounds and three steals. Boese scored only seven points, but pulled down five rebounds, two steals, two blocks and an assist.
Coates led the Cardinals with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while adding five rebounds (all offensive) and two blocks.
Monahan continues to move up the Gustavus career points chart. Her 18 points Saturday afternoon gives her 872 for her career, 12th on the all-time list. Vadnais moved into 26th place all-time with 615 career points.
Gustavus, which improved to 14-5 overall and 12-4 in the MIAC, secured a berth in the MIAC Playoffs with the win. They will face Bethel Monday night in Arden Hills.