Senior Jess Vadnais set a new all-time women’s basketball scoring record at Gustavus, but it was the Gustie defense that stole the show Saturday in a 58-50 victory over St. Olaf. Gustavus forced the Oles to commit 29 turnovers in a contest where the Gusties needed all of their 16 steals to offset 34% shooting from the field. The Gusties improved to 7-6 overall and 6-4 in conference play, as the Oles fell to 3-10 overall and 2-8 in the MIAC.
Neither squad was able to build much momentum in the first half as St. Olaf held a small 12-10 lead with 12:54 left on the clock. The Gusties went on a 5-0 run with lay-ups by Kirsten Prunty and Emily Nelson and three Nelson free-throws for a 17-12 lead midway through the period. The Oles countered with a 9-2 run of their own with seven points from Kelsey Oja for a 21-19 Ole lead. Both teams exchanged baskets for the remainder of the half as Gustavus went into the locker room with a 24-23 lead.
St. Olaf gained the upper hand in the first five minutes of the second half as the Oles jumped out to their biggest lead of the contest at 34-28 with 14:47 left. A three-point basket by Jess Vadnais on the next Gustavus possession ignited a 22-3 Gustie rally over the next 6:30 to build a 50-37 advantage. Gustavus began full-court pressure at the start of the run and forced St. Olaf to turn the ball over on five consecutive possessions with four steals, including three from Vadnais. The Oles pulled within six points on two separate occasions, but were not able to cut the deficit any further.
Jess Vadnais’ (Hudson, Wis.) game-high 22 points not only set a new scoring record of 1,480 points, but also set a new career three-point record of 178 three-point baskets. Bri Monahan held the old career mark of 1,466 points, while Angie Peterson had the old three-point record of 176 baskets. Emily Nelson (Mankato, Minn.) joined Vadnais in double-digits with 10 points. The Oles had three players reach double-figures, including Kelsey Oja with 13, Kristina Stoermer with 12 and Elyse Erickson with 11. St. Olaf shot 40% from the field compared to only 34% for Gustavus, but were not able to overcome 29 turnovers.
Gustavus will travel to Northfield to face the Carleton Knights on Monday night in the first game of a double-header with the men’s basketball team at 5:45 p.m.