The Gustavus women’s basketball team saw its season come to an end on Wednesday night after suffering a 77-61 loss to St. Thomas in an MIAC Semifinal in St. Paul. The Gusties trailed by one point with 5:55 remaining in the contest before the Tommies went on a 17-2 run to close out the game. St. Thomas shot 57 percent from the field compared to 40 percent for the Gusties. St. Thomas improved to 20-6, while Gustavus wrapped up the season at 18-9.
The Tommies jumped out to a 20-10 lead with 12:25 left in the half as Chelsea Wirtz hit two three-pointers and Carrie Embree posted six points. St. Thomas would maintain the lead until Gustavus closed out the half with a 19-7 run to grab a 39-36 halftime lead. Bri Radtke, Jess Vadnais, and Emily Nelson each hit a three-point basket to bring the Gusties back into the contest despite St. Thomas shooting 55.6 percent from the floor.
Both teams fought for momentum in the second half as the score was tied three times in the first eight minutes before settling on 52-52 with 11:35 on the clock. The Tommies gained a small edge as the squads continued to exchange baskets before a pair of Vadnais free throws brought the Gusties to within one point at 60-59 and 5:55 on the clock. However, that was as close as Gustavus got as St. Thomas went on an ensuing 10-0 run for a 70-59 lead fueled by six points from Embree and four points from Sheena Porter-Wrzos with two minutes remaining in the contest. Emily Nelson stopped the scoring drought with a layup on a pass from Katie Layman before the Tommies rattled off the final seven points in the game.
Jess Vadnais paced the Gusties with 19 points and three steals to close out her illustrious career. Katie Layman and Emily Nelson also added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Gustavus shot 40 percent from the floor on 21-for-52 shooting and 76.5 percent from the free throw line. St. Thomas’ Carrie Embree led all scorers with 25 points on 11-for-14 shooting. Jessica Katch compiled 12 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Chelsea Wirtz scored 12 points on 4-for-8 from behind the three-point line, while Sheena Porter-Wrzos tallied 13 points, including 9-for-10 from the charity stripe.
Gustavus concluded the season with an overall record of 18-9 and finished third in the MIAC standings for the third time in five seasons at 16-6. St. Thomas will host Carleton, who knocked off #1-seed Saint Benedict, in the MIAC Championship at Schoenecker Arena on Saturday at 3 p.m. The winner will receive an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament.