In a physical contest where both squads combined to commit 47 fouls, the Gustavus women’s basketball team used 27 points from the free throw line to post a 75-67 victory over Saint Mary’s in Winona, Minn. on Wednesday night. Four Gustie players hit double-digit scoring including a game-high 27 points from Jess Vadnais (Sr., Hudson, Wis.). Gustavus improved to 5-4 overall and 4-2 in conference play, while Saint Mary’s fell to 2-7 overall and 1-5 in the MIAC.
Neither team was able to establish momentum in the first half until Saint Mary’s went on a 6-0 run for a 19-12 lead with 8:48 on the clock. The Gusties stormed back with an 18-6 run as Jess Vadnais scored eight of her ten first half points during the eight minute stretch. First-year players Molly Mathowietz (Sleepy Eye, Minn.) and Brittany Holm (Benson, Minn.) combined to add eight more points off the bench in the run. Saint Mary’s Nichole Hanson hit a three-point shot with :07 remaining in the first half to send Gustavus into halftime with a 30-28 lead.
The Golden Gusties came out of intermission with a quick 5-0 run from two Vicky Peterson layups and a Vadnais free throw to increase their lead to 35-28. Saint Mary’s clawed back into the contest as the Cardinals trailed 57-56 with 5:58 left in the game after Hanson hit a pair of free throws. However, Gustavus responded with a Vadnais three-pointer and two Mathiowetz free throws increasing the lead to six points. The game became one of free throws as the Gusties hit 7-8 free throws in the last minute to hang on for the 75-67 win.
In addition to Vadnais’ 27 points, Mathiowetz tallied 12 points and eight rebounds while Peterson (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) and Katie Layman (So., Hudson, Wis.) each contributed 10 points in the winning effort. Gustavus shot 2-13 behind the three-point line, but defensively stepped up to compile 12 steals and five blocks. Four players reached double figures for the Cardinals including Kelly Tanke and Alyse Coates with 13 each, Jess Miller with 11, and Jessica Weisbrod with 10.
Gustavus will take on MIAC opponent Concordia in Moorhead, Minn. on Wednesday, January 9 at 5:45 pm. Saint Mary’s will travel to St. Paul to face St. Catherine on Wednesday for a 7:30 pm tip-off.