The Gustavus women’s basketball team came out firing in the first-half and never trailed in a 70-60 win over St. Kate’s on Saturday at Gus Young Court. The Gusties shot 59 percent from the field on 17-29 shooting, including 5-9 from the perimeter, for a 42-35 halftime lead. Gustavus continued its seven game-winning streak and moved to 12-6 overall and 11-4 in the conference, while St. Kate’s fell to 7-11 overall and 5-10 in the MIAC.
Julia Schultz set the tone for Gustavus in the opening possession with a three-pointer from the top of the key as the Gusties jumped out to a 11-4 lead with additional three-point baskets from Bri Radtke and Jess Vadnais. St. Kate’s would stay within reach as the Wildcats never trailed by more than 10 points in the first half, but were not able to get closer than two. Three-point shooting kept St. Kate’s in the game as the Wildcats were 4-11 from downtown in the half. Rachel Berglund led all players at halftime with 11 points, including nine from three-point range, as Gustavus led 42-35 at intermission.
Coach Haller’s squad scored the first seven points of the second half on a pair of baskets from Katie Layman and a three-pointer from Vadnais to build a 49-35 lead. It would be the largest lead of the game for Gustavus. The lead would remain in double-figures until St. Kate’s went on a 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 55-49 with 8:55 remaining. However, that was as close as the Wildcats would get as the Gusties hung on for a 70-60 win.
Jess Vadnais (Sr., Hudson, Wis.) led the way for Gustavus with 17 points and four assists, while Katie Layman (So., Hudson, Wis.) added 12 points and four steals. Two other Gusties, Julia Schultz (So., Marshall, Minn.) and Emily Nelson (Jr., Mankato, Minn.), reached eight points. Gustavus shot a season-high 87.5 percent from the free throw line. Four players reached double-digits for St. Kate’s, including Ashley Busche with 15, Rachel Berglund with 14, and Brooke Hakanson and Molly Peterson with 10 apiece. The Wildcats forced Gustavus to commit 24 turnovers, but that was not enough to compensate for being outrebounded 43-30.
The Gusties, who remain in a two-way tie with Concordia for third-place in the standings, will travel to St. Joseph on Monday for a key match-up against Saint Benedict at 7:30 p.m. The Wildcats will host Concordia on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. in St. Paul.