The Gustavus women’s basketball jumped out to a 22-9 lead in the first seven minutes of the game and never looked back on its way to a convincing 81-55 win at Hamline on Saturday afternoon. It was a big day for senior Bri Monahan as she scored 19 points and became the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Gustavus women’s basketball program. Jess Vadnais led all scorers with 25 points.
The Gusties improved to 20-3 overall and 17-3 in the MIAC with the win and locked up at least the #2 seed in the MIAC Tournament, which means a first round bye and a home game in the semifinal round. Gustavus will host St. Olaf next Wednesday before wrapping up the regular season at Carleton next Saturday.
Gustavus put together an impressive first half on Saturday making 65.5 percent from the field (19-29) including 6-of-9 from behind the arc (66.7 percent). The Gusties made nine of their first 12 shots from the field including four-of-four from three-point range. Gustavus led by as many as 21 points in the first half before a late Piper rally cut the lead to 17 (48-31) at the half. Vadnais scored 16 points, and Monahan added 15 to lead the way.
Coach Mickey Haller’s squad cooled off a bit in the second half making 11-of-39 from the field (37.9 percent), but Hamline never got closer than 19 points. The Gustie defense forced 31 turnovers and limited the Pipers to 37.5 percent shooting from the field (21-56).
The big news in the game for Gustavus was Bri Monahan becoming the all-time leading scorer early in the second half. Monahan entered the game needing 15 points to tie Linn Erickson (1,399 points from 1983 to 1987). She tied the mark when she made a layup with 1:20 left in the first half. She had a chance to break the mark before the intermission but missed two free throws. Fifty seconds into the second half, Monahan made another layup pushing her career total to 1,401 points and breaking the 20-year old mark held by Erickson. She finished the game with 19 points and her total currently sits at 1,403.
Monahan’s record-breaking performance overshadowed a big day for Jess Vadnais and Emily Nelson. Vadnais scored 25 points, while making 8-of-11 shots from the field (4-of-4 from behind the arc) and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Nelson, who missed the first 11 games of the season with a knee injury, scored a season-high 11 points including 4-of-5 from the field and 3-of-4 from three-point range.