Momentum swings played a large role in the Gustavus women’s basketball 58-55 win over Saint Mary’s at Gus Young Court on Wednesday night. The Gusties weathered two large Cardinal runs in each half and grabbed key offensive rebounds down the stretch to keep pace with Concordia for third-place in the MIAC standings. Gustavus improved to 13-7 overall and 12-5 in the conference, while Saint Mary’s dropped to 4-15 overall and 3-13 in the conference.
Both teams struggled offensively at the start of the game as the score remained tied at 4-4 with 13:20 on the clock. Saint Mary’s woke up and went on a 11-4 run as Jess Weisbrod hit two layups and dished out two assists during the streak for a 15-8 lead. Gustavus gained its first lead of the game compliments of a 10-2 run, as the Gusties led 18-17 with 3:24 remaining on the clock. Coach Haller’s squad hung onto the lead as they went into halftime with a 28-24 lead.
The Gusties would build a 35-28 lead in the early minutes of the second half before the Cardinals went on another large run. Saint Mary’s went on an ensuing 16-2 run over four minutes as Weisbrod chipped in eight points and Jess Miller contributed six points for a 44-37 lead with 12:41 on the clock. Gustavus battled back during the next eight minutes as the Gusties went on a 16-5 run to regain the lead at 53-49 as the Cardinals went scoreless for over three minutes. The Gusties held a one-point lead with 00:48 remaining after Emily Nelson hauled down a huge offensive rebound of a missed Julia Schultz free throw. Jess Vadnais missed a three-point shot on the subsequent possession as Schultz grabbed another offensive rebound for Gustavus. Vadnais hit both free throws in a 1-1 situation with 00:12 left for a 58-55 lead. Saint Mary’s had an opportunity to tie the contest, but Jesa Hall missed the three-point shot. The Gusties shot 31 percent from the field on 8-26 shooting in the second half, but hit 11 free throws.
Jess Vadnais (Sr., Hudson, Wis.) scored 19 points for Gustavus, including 6-6 from the charity stripe. Molly Mathiowetz posted double-digits for the second game in a row as she compiled 10 points and six rebounds. Saint Mary’s was paced by Jess Weisbrod, who poured in 24 points on 10-18 shooting and pulled down 12 rebounds in the losing effort. Jess Miller also contributed 15 points for the Cardinals. Saint Mary’s was 14-25 from the floor in the second half at 56 percent, but could not overcome 22 turnovers.
Gustavus will travel to St. Paul to face co-league leader St. Thomas on Saturday at 1 p.m. Saint Mary’s will face Carleton in Northfield, Minn. on Saturday at 1 p.m.