The Gustavus women’s basketball team limited St. Thomas to 11 points in the first half and 24 in the second half on its way to a convincing 54-35 win in St. Peter on Wednesday night. The Gusties, who improve to 19-3 overall and 16-3 in the MIAC, were led by Jess Vadnais (Hudson, Wis.) with 22 points. No other player on either team reached double figures in scoring.
Both started the game struggling from the field as Gustavus made only four of its first 15 shots, while St. Thomas could convert on only two of its first 13 shots. The Gusties led 9-7 with 8:19 left in the first half. Coach Mickey Haller’s squad outscored the Tommies 10-4 the rest of the half and led 19-11 at the intermission. Gustavus shot 8-of-27 (29.6%) from the field, while St. Thomas could only manage to make three of its 21 shots (14.3%).
St. Thomas scored the first four points of the second half to cut the lead to 21-17 with 17:26 left to play, however the Gusties scored the next four points to push the lead back to eight at 25-17. A Jess Vadnais lay-up with 5:51 remaining extended the Gustie lead to 11 at 41-30. Vadnais’ basket started a 12-0 run over the next four minutes that pushed the Gustavus lead to 21 at 51-30 with :51 left in the contest. Vadnais scored 17 of her 22 points in the second half to help the Gusties pull away from the Tommies.
Gustavus finished the game making 17-of-50 from the field (34.0%), 5-of-23 from three-point range (21.7%), and 15-of-16 from the free throw line. Vadnais was 10-of-10 from the charity stripe and she has now made 44-of-45 from the line in the last six games. The Gusties forced 22 turnovers in the game and turned those miscues into 20 points. Gustavus has really turned up the heat defensively over the past three games limiting its opponents to 38.7 points per game and 25.1 percent shooting from the field (40-of-159), while forcing 60 turnovers (20.0 per game).
With the win, the Gusties have now posted a regular season record of 10-2 against the Tommies over the past six years. Ironically, Gustavus is 4-2 at home and 6-0 at St. Thomas during that stretch.
The Gusties will now travel to St. Paul on Saturday to face Hamline at 3:00 pm. The Gusties will be shooting to reach the 20-win plateau for the fourth time in the past six years.