The Gustavus women’s basketball team clinched at least a share of third place in the MIAC standings with 68-63 win over Hamline on Wednesday night in St. Paul. The Gustie defense compiled 17 steals and forced 28 Piper turnovers in the victory. Offensively, four players reached double-digit figures as Gustavus improved to 17-7 overall and 16-5 in the conference. Hamline maintained the final spot in post-season play, but fell to 12-12 overall and 9-12 in the league.
Hamline raced out to a 12-4 lead five minutes into the contest as Rochelle Sather and Jessica Henin scored five points each in the early stages of the game. Gustavus countered with its own 12-2 run for a 18-14 lead due in part to six Piper turnovers. The Gusties saw the margin grow to seven points before Hamline closed the gap to 34-31 after Heinen hit a pair of free throws to close out the half.
The Pipers tied the game on their first possession of the second half after Krystal Tschumperlin sank a three-pointer to knot the score at 34-34. This was as close as Hamline would get though as the Gustavus defensive pressure proved to be too much for the Pipers to handle. The Gusties went on a 9-2 run that forced four turnovers resulting in seven points, including steals and baskets from Jess Vadnais and Julia Schultz. Hamline called a timeout with 17:31 remaining on the clock and responded to cut the deficit to one point. Gustavus pulled away, however, during a 20-9 span where the Gusties saw their biggest lead of the contest at 66-54 with under four minutes left. The Pipers mounted a small comeback with a 9-2 run to close out the game, but it was too little too late as Gustavus came out on top 68-63.
Gustavus was paced by Jess Vadnais, who scored a game-high 22 points to go along with six rebounds and four steals. Julia Schultz reached double-figures with 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the floor and posted four steals. Emily Nelson and Molly Mathiowetz came off of the bench to pour in 11 points each. Nelson was 3-for-5 from behind the three-point arc and recorded three steals. Mathiowetz grabbed four offensive rebounds as the Gusties dominated the offensive glass with 16 offensive boards compared to only seven for Hamline. Mary Wilkowski shot 7-for-10 from the field to lead Hamline with 15 points. Rochelle Sather finished with 13 points and five assists, while Jessica Heinn added 11 points in the losing effort.
Gustavus will wrap up the regular season with a chance to earn the #2-seed in the MIAC Post-Season Tournament on Saturday against Carleton on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. as part of a doubleheader. Hamline will face Macalester in a game that will determine the final playoff spot on Saturday in St. Paul.