Emily Nelson scored a layup with :02.2 to allow the Gustavus women’s basketball team to claim a thrilling come-from-behind 57-56 win over Bethel University in Arden Hills on Wednesday night. The Gusties, who trailed by 10 points with 6:40 left in the game, did not hold a lead in the second half until Nelson’s basket in the final seconds. Nelson led Gustavus in scoring with 15 points. With the win, the Gusties improved to 9-3 overall and 7-2 in the MIAC.
The Gusties had a rough night shooting as they made only 19-of-52 from the field (36.5 percent), but the team was an impressive 10-of-14 from the free throw line including a near perfect 11-of-12 in the second half.
The game was very evenly played through the first ten minutes of the first half and the Royals led by two at 13-11 at the 10:21 mark. The Gusties used a 9-0 run over the next six minutes to take a seven-point, 20-13 lead at the 5:34 mark. The Royals countered with a 10-2 run the rest of the half and took a one-point 23-22 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
Bethel came out strong in the second half and built up an eight point lead at 41-33 with 11:54 left in the game. The Royals claimed their biggest lead of the game at 51-41 at the 6:40 mark. The Gusties exploded for eight straight points in a two-minute stretch to pull within two points at 51-49 with 4:06 on the clock. Bethel’s Taylor Sheley converted an old-fashioned three-point play on a lay-up and a free throw with 1:19 left to play and the Royals led 56-53. Katie Layman made two free throws to pull the Gusties within one at 56-55 with :52 seconds left. Gustavus got the ball on a Bethel turnover with :07 seconds left allowing Nelson to drive in for the winning basket. The Royals did call a timeout with :02 left and got the ball the full length of the court to Taylor Sheley, but Sheley’s lay-up with :01 on the clock rolled off the rim allowing the Gusties to escape with the important MIAC road win.
Gustavus is currently in a second place tie with Concordia with a record of 7-2. St. Ben’s is alone in first place with a mark of 8-1. The Gusties play at third place St. Thomas (7-3) on Saturday at 1:00 pm.