The Gustavus women’s basketball team will face Simpson College in the First Round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament on Friday, Mar. 7 at 7:00 pm at Cowles Fieldhouse in Indianola, Iowa. Gustavus, which finished third in the MIAC regular season and lost in a MIAC Post-Season Semifinal 77-61 to NCAA participant St. Thomas, enters with a mark of 18-9. Simpson, which won the regular season IIAC title and IIAC Post-Season Championship, enters with a mark of 25-2. Gustavus will audiostream the match through the Gustavus Athletics Broadcast page. Matt Thomas and Adele Burk will handle the play-by-play.
The Gusties will be making their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and their fifth overall appearance in the national tournament…Gustavus is 1-4 overall in NCAA tournament play and 1-3 in the first round…Last year, the Gusties lost to George Fox 61-47 in the first round after receiving an at-large bid…Gustavus averages 66.4 points per game, while allowing 62.7 points. Gustie opponents also average 22.3 turnovers per contest…Jess Vadnais led the MIAC in scoring for the second consecutive season and ranks 23rd in Division III at 19.2 points per game…Vadanis, one of ten Jostens’ Trophy finalist this year, is the all-time leading scorer in Gustavus women’s basketball history with 1,761 points…She also holds the school career marks in steals (218), free throws (480), and three-point field goals (208)…Emily Nelson and Molly Mathiowetz lead the way off of the bench as Nelson is the team’s third-leading scorer at 8.6 points…Mathiowetz is right behind Nelson at 8.5 points and is the team’s leading rebounder at 5.7 boards per game…Mickey Haller is the all-time winningest coach at Gustavus and needs one win to reach 150 wins.
The 77 points scored by Bethel on December 3 in a 83-77 win were the most points allowed by a Gustavus defense since November 25, 2005 when Luther scored 83 points in a 83-51 loss…St. Thomas posted 77 points against the Gusties in a 77-61 MIAC Semifinal loss…Since the 2000-01 season, the Golden Gusties have a 4-12 record when opponents score 75 points or more…Gustavus scored 50 points in the second half twice this season
during a two-week span…Gustavus scored 51 in the second half against Concordia on February 11 and 50 in the second half against Hamline on February 25…Prior to February 11, the Gusties’ most recent 50-point half was on November 30, 2002 against Universidad Metropolitana.
The Gustavus bench plays a key role in offensive production as the Gustie reserves have outscored the opponents’ bench in 23 of the 27 games this season…Gustavus is 16-7 in those 23 contests…Katie Layman and Emily Nelson are offensive indicators for the outcome of Gustie games this season…Gustavus is 10-3 when Layman reaches double-digit scoring, 8-2 when Nelson hits double-figures, and 5-1 when both players hit 10 points…The Gusties are 14-0 when scoring 65 points or more…Gustavus is 11-4 when leading at halftime and 7-5 when trailing at halftime…The Gusties are 3-4 against teams in the NCAA Tournament…Gustavus has played Carleton (1-1), St. Thomas (1-2), Maryville (0-1), and UW-Eau Claire (1-0).
Simpson enters the NCAA Tournament as the regular season champion of the IIAC for the third time in the last six years and the post-season champion for the third time in the last four years…The Storm are led in scoring by IIAC MVP senior forward Katelyn Whiton, who averaged 16.3 points and 7.3 rebounds this season…Junior forward Whitney Franker is close behind Whiton with 15.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game…Simpson claimed the IIAC regular season title with a mark of 15-1, well ahead of second place finisher Luther at 12-4…Simpson defeated Coe 94-80 in the IIAC Championship last Saturday…The Storm’s two losses came at the hands of Division II St. Cloud State University (93-90) and Luther College (69-65) on the road…Twenty-two of Simpson’s 25 wins this season have been by double-digits…The Storm rank first in Division III in field-goal percentage (0.487) and second in scoring offense (84.8)…Simpson has been held below 75 points eight times this season, while posting a record of 7-1 in those contests.
The winner of the Gustavus vs. Simpson match will play the winner of the UW-Eau Claire vs. Carleton match on Saturday, Mar. 8 at 7:00 pm for the right to advance to the sectional tournament at a site yet to be determined next weekend Mar. 14-15.