The Gustavus women’s basketball season saw its season come to a close Wednesday night as Concordia completed the season sweep of the Gusties with a 63-55 MIAC Playoff Semifinal win in Moorhead. Gustavus’ Bri Monahan (Jr., Hutchinson, Minn.) led all players with 22 points and surpassed the 1000-point barrier for her career.
Concordia started quickly, making eight of its first 13 shots to take a 19-6 lead. The Gusties scored seven straight points over a four minute stretch to cut the lead to six, but a trey by Jessica Heintz brought the Gustavus run to an end with 7:23 to play in the first half. The teams played evenly throughout the rest of the half, with Anne Keeley capping the scoring on a lay-up with 1:35 to play to give Concordia a 31-22 lead at the intermission.
The Gusties struggled from the field in the first half, connecting on only seven of 23 field goal attempts (30.4 percent).
After knocking the lead to five points on a pair of occasions early in the second half, the Cobbers rebounded with Tori Ehlert scoring five straight points to put Concordia up 38-28 with 15:42 to play in regulation. Gustavus stormed back, erasing the ten-point deficit to take a 44-42 lead on a Jess Vadnais (So., Hudson, Wis.) three-pointer with 10:47 to play in the second half. The Gusties pressured the Cobbers defensively during the stretch, forcing four turnovers which led to a pair of uncontested lay-ups for Gustavus. The Gustie lead would not last long, though, as Melanie Hageman converted a layup to knot the score at 44-44 with 9:15 remaining on the clock.
Concordia took control of the game at that point, outscoring Gustavus 12-3 over the next six-and-a-half minutes, forcing six turnovers and holding the Gusties without a field goal until the 2:41 mark when Vicky Peterson (So., Plymouth, Minn.) hit a jumper to make the score 56-49. Gustavus missed eight straight field goal attempts, picking up its only points on a pair of free throws by Peterson and another by Sara Boldt (Sr., Faribault, Minn.).
A jumper by Vadnais knocked the lead back to five points, but Concordia responded with four straight points to put the game out of reach at 60-51 with 46 seconds remaining. Monahan and Vadnais each got a lay-up in the game’s final 40 seconds, but the Cobbers maintained their distance by hitting five of eight attempts from the charity stripe.
The Gusties improved their shooting in the second half, hitting 43.3 percent (13-30) of their field goal attempts, but still shot only 37.7 percent (20-53) for the game. Gustavus was also 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) from three-point range, well below their season average of 31.9 percent from downtown.
Monahan finished 10-of-20 from the field and hit two of three free throws to finish with a game-high 22 points. Vadnais added 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting with seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals, but the sophomore guard also committed a season-high seven turnovers. Emily Nelson (Fy., Mankato, Minn.) added seven points off the bench as the only Gustie besides Vadnais or Monahan to hit multiple field goals. Nelson was 2-of-8 from the field, including a three-pointer.
Concordia shot 50 percent (24-48) from the field overall, including 54.4 percent (12-22) in the second half, and had a commanding 32-22 edge on the glass. Melanie Hageman led the Cobbers with 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting with nine rebounds, while Tori Ehlert added a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double in the winning effort. Anne Keeley’s 13 points and seven rebounds gave Concordia three players in double figures.
Monahan reached the 1000 career point mark with a jumper midway through the second half. Her 22 points against the Cobbers puts her at 1009 career points. Monahan also became only the second Gustavus women’s basketball player to reach 1000 points in three seasons. Angie Peterson scored 1333 points in three seasons after joining the team as a transfer her sophomore year.
Already the owner of the Gustavus single-season points record, Monahan added the single-season field goals record to her extensive resume. Her 10 made field goal Wednesday night upped her season total to 189, passing by two the mark of 187 set by Betty Wannarka during the 1982-83 season. Monahan finished the season with 495 points. Vadnais’ total of 424 points this season is the sixth most in Gustavus history.
Wednesday’s game marked the final collegiate games for seniors Boldt, Marit Sviggum (Sr., Kenyon, Minn.), Michelle Linbo (Sr., Rochester, Minn.) and Missy Mills (Barron, Wis.). Boldt closes out her career ranking in the top 25 in points (24th, 629) and in the top ten in assists (tenth, 198), three-point field goals (ninth, 45) and steals (fourth, 190).
The Gusties wind up their season at 19-7, while Concordia (20-6) will host Carleton in the MIAC Championship game Saturday afternoon. The Knights were a surprise 74-73 overtime winner over top seed Saint Ben’s Wednesday night in St. Joseph.