Leading at halftime 26-25, the Gustavus women’s basketball team was outscored by host St. Ben’s 43-19 in the final 20 minutes and suffered a disappointing 68-45 defeat in St. Joseph. The Gusties, who entered the game tied with St. Ben’s and Concordia for first place, fell to third place with the loss at 10-4 overall and 8-3 in the MIAC. Emily Nelson scored 10 points to lead Gustavus.
The Gusties and Blazers battled very evenly through the first 20 minutes with neither team holding a lead larger than five points. The score was tied five times and the lead changed hands four times. Gustavus shot a cool 34.5 percent from the field (10-29) and an equally chilly 42.9 percent from the free throw line (3-7). St. Ben’s made 41.7 percent of its shots from the field (10-24), but struggled from behind the arc (20.0 percent, 2-10) and from the free throw line (42.9 percent, 3-7). The Gusties got a jumper from Kirsten Prunty with :28 seconds left to take a 26-25 lead into the locker room at the break.
The second half would turn out to be all St. Ben’s as the Blazers scored the first eight points to take a seven-point, 33-26 lead. Gustavus would cut the lead to five at 35-30, but the Blazers quickly built the lead up to 13 ten points at 43-30. St. Ben’s put together another quick 7-0 run midway through the final half to push its lead to 17 points at 53:36 with 7:28 remaining. Gustavus would get no closer 15 points the rest of the game. The Gusties shot a frigid 20.7 percent from the field (6-29) in the second half, while the Blazers shot an identical 40.7 percent in the second half (10-24).
The only Gustavus player to reach double figures in scoring was Emily Nelson with 10 points. St. Ben’s was led by Mindy Schmidt and Heather Gillund with 14 points each.
The Gusties will play their sixth consecutive game on the road on Wednesday at Carleton at 5:45 pm.