Jess Vadnais (Sr., Hudson, Wis.) scored 20 of her game-high 24 points in the second half to lift the Gustavus women’s basketball team past Macalester 54-51 Wednesday night in St. Peter. The game kicked off the MIAC schedule for both squads, while the game was also the season opener for Coach Mickey Haller’s squad.
Neither team was able to establish rhythm early in the first half as the Golden Gusties built a 10-9 lead with 10:38 left in the period. The Scots responded with a 14-4 run capped with a Maddy Emanuel jumper to build its largest lead of the contest at 23-14 with under five minutes remaining. Gustavus gradually chipped away at the lead as Macalester went into halftime with a 27-22 lead. Trina PaStarr and Ann Baltzer took advantage of the young Gustie post players as both players combined to score 19 points for the Scots in the first half.
Macalester built its lead back up to nine points with an Alyssa Lunde jump shot with 15:46 left in the game. Gustavus went on an ensuing 12-2 run with seven points from Vadnais and five points from Emily Nelson (Jr., Mankato, Minn.) to regain its first lead of the second half at 11:25. The Gustie defense turned up the pressure during this stretch as Macalester was held scoreless over four minutes before the Scots called a timeout. Following the timeout, Macalester got six straight points from Majra Mucic for a 44-41 Scot edge.
Both teams fought back and forth for the lead until two Molly Mathiowetz (Fy., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) free throws put the Gusties ahead for good with 2:42 remaining. The Scots reduced the deficit to one before Vadnais put away the game with two free throws for a 54-51 victory.
Vadnais scored a game-high 24 points to go along with four steals for Gustavus. No other Gustie scored more than eight points in the contest. PaStarr led Macalester with 18 points to go with five rebounds. Baltzer was the only other Scot to finish in double figures as she compiled 11 points and eight rebounds.
Both squads combined to commit 48 turnovers in the game and did not shoot the ball well as Gustavus shot 38% from the field and Macalester shot 39%. The closely contested game came down to free throws as Macalester shot 50% from behind the charity stripe by finishing 6-12. Gustavus made 11 of 14 free throws including seven of ten in the second half for the victory.
Gustavus is 1-0 overall and 1-0 in the MIAC as Coach Mickey Haller has yet to lose a MIAC opener in her coaching tenure. Macalester moves to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play. Gustavus will travel to Minneapolis on Saturday to take on the Augsburg Auggies at 1:00 pm.