Strong second half shooting helped the Gustavus women’s basketball team pick up a big MIAC win over Saint Benedict 70-62 on Wednesday night at Gus Young Court in St. Peter. Three Golden Gusties scored in double-digits in the most balanced scoring attack of the season as Gustavus shot a season-high 52% from the field. The Gusties improved their record to 3-1 overall and 3-1 in conference, while the Blazers dropped to 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the MIAC.
Gustavus established a balanced scoring attack early as five different players scored on the way to an 11-8 lead with 13:01 remaining in the first half. The Gusties built a seven-point lead midway through the period before Saint Benedict fought back for a 33-32 lead at intermission. Mackenzie O’Neil and Mindy Schmidt recorded 14 points and eight points, respectively, during the first half. The Blazers also finished 10-12 from the free throw line in the period as both teams shot 45% from the floor.
The Gusties started out hot in the second half as Coach Mickey Haller’s squad went on a 15-6 run from 6-9 shooting to build a 47-39 lead. Blazer three-point shooting kept Gustavus within striking distance as Saint Benedict got within three points after an Amy Stifter three-pointer with 7:26 remaining in the contest, but could not cut the deficit further. The Gusties answered with a 9-2 run on five points from Emily Nelson (Jr., Mankato, Minn.) and four points from Katie Layman (So., Hudson, Wis.) for an insurmountable lead with four minutes left. Gustavus shot a scalding 60% from the field in the second half on the way to a 70-62 win.
The Blazers held Vadnais to 11 points, well below her 24-point average, but received ample support from her teammates. The difference in the contest proved to be bench scoring as the Gustavus bench outscored Saint Benedict 29-21. Emily Nelson (Jr., Mankato, Minn.) came off the bench to post a team-high 13 points and four rebounds. Katie Layman (So., Hudson, Wis.) turned in her best performance of the season by scoring 12 points and pulling down a team-high six rebounds. Three Blazers finished in double-figures as O’Neil recorded a game-high 14 points, all in the first half. Judy Falvey and Mindy Schmidt contributed 12 points each in the losing effort.
Gustavus will not play again until after Christmas when the team travels to San Diego, CA to compete in the Surf ‘n Slam tournament. The Gusties will take on UW-Eau Claire in the first round on December 27 at 10:00 am PST.