The Gustavus women’s basketball team stayed within reach of first place in the MIAC with an important 60-53 win against St. Thomas in St. Paul on Saturday afternoon. The Gusties, who improved to 10-3 overall and 8-2 in the MIAC, were led in scoring by Julia Schultz with 16 points and Molly Mathiowetz with 13.
St. Thomas got off to a fast start in the game and led 10-2 after a layup by Jessica Katch at the 16:26 mark. The Tommies led by four at 20-16 with 8:22 left in the half, but the Gusties shut St. Thomas down the rest of the half outscoring the Tommies 11-2 and Gustavus took a five-point, 27-22 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
It was the Gusties who came out firing in the second half and Coach Mickey Haller’s squad out-scored St. Thomas 14-3 in the first six minutes of play giving Gustavus a 16-point lead at 41-25 lead at the 14:13 mark. St. Thomas countered with a 9-0 midway through the second half to cut the lead to five points at 46-41 with 9:25 left to play. That is close as St. Thomas would get the rest of the game as the Gusties built their lead back up to 10 points at 55-45 with 4:24 left and then held on for the seven-point victory, 60-53.
Both teams struggled from the field as Gustavus made only 37.0 percent of its shots (20-54), while St. Thomas shot a cool 32.1 percent (18-56). The Gusties made 18-of-28 from the free throw line, including 17-of-26 in the second half after going 1-2 in the first half.
Junior forward Julia Schultz turned in a strong performance for Gustavus as she scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Molly Mathiowetz came off the bench to score 13 points and grab six rebounds.
The Gusties will continue their eight-game road swing by traveling to St. Joseph on Monday night for an important game with Saint Ben’s. Gustavus, Saint Ben’s, and Concordia are currently in a three-way tie for first place with identical 8-2 records.