After facing an eight-point halftime deficit, the Gustavus women’s basketball team used a 12-0 run at the start of the second half to fuel a 77-67 victory over Bethel on Wednesday night. The Royals shot a stifling 64 percent from the floor in the first half, but could not overcome 24 turnovers and being out-rebounded 15-4 on the offensive glass. The Golden Gusties, who extended their winning-streak to six games, moved to 11-6 overall and 10-4 in the MIAC, while Bethel dropped to 9-8 overall and 6-8 in the league.
As both squads fought for control, Bethel built a small 25-21 lead with 8:31 left in the first half before going on a 10-2 run capped by an Erica Hormig lay-up. The Royals took advantage of three Gustie turnovers during the run as the score became 35-23 with 4:45 on the clock. Gustavus would cut the margin before halftime, but trailed 46-38 at intermission. Bethel shot a blazing hot 64 percent on 16-25 shooting from the floor as the Gusties committed 11 turnovers. The Royals received an extra lift off of the bench as Jess Gilpin hit three three-point baskets during the half.
Halftime adjustments were effective as Gustavus exploded for a 12-0 run at the start of the second half. The Gustie defense turned up the pressure as Gustavus had five steals resulting in five lay-ups by Jess Vadnais, Katie Layman, and Julia Schultz during the stretch. With 14:53 on the clock at the end of the run, the Gusties had their first lead of the contest at 50-48. Bethel kept the score close over the next seven minutes, but did not get closer than 60-58 with 7:39 left in the contest. Gustavus expanded its lead throughout the rest of the game with a combination of defensive stops and 10-13 shooting from behind the charity stripe en route to the 77-67 win.
Jess Vadnais (Sr., Hudson, Wis.) paced Gustavus with 23 points, including 14 in the second half, and a perfect 12-12 from the free throw line. Katie Layman (So., Hudson, Wis.) and Emily Nelson (Jr., Mankato, Minn.) both contributed 15 points each and combined for 14 rebounds. Molly Mathiowetz (Fy., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) added 11 points and four steals. The Gusties shot 39 percent for the game, but hit 28 free throws compared to 22 free throw attempts for Bethel. Gustavus committed a season-low 14 turnovers and recorded a season-high 16 steals. Bethel was led by Gabriella Gustafson with 18 points and three assists. Jess Gilpin came off the bench to chip in 12 points. The Royals turned the ball over 24 times and were out-rebounded 40-32.
Gustavus, which is now in a two way-tie for third in the MIAC standings with Concordia, will face St. Catherine at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon in St. Peter at Gus Young Court. Bethel will host Saint Benedict in Arden Hills on Saturday at 3 p.m.