The Gustavus women’s basketball team held the upper hand against St. Thomas for the better part of the first 35 minutes of play, but the Tommies went on a 15-4 run over the final four-and-a-half minutes of the game and slipped past the Gusties 61-58 in St. Peter. Jessica Katch’s jumper with :34 seconds left gave St. Thomas the lead for the first time in the second half. Katie Layman led Gustavus in scoring with 14 points. Gustavus falls to 15-8 overall and 13-7 in the MIAC, while St. Thomas improves to 17-6 overall and 15-5 in the MIAC.
In a game that had important playoff implications, the Gustavus and St. Thomas women’s basketball teams battled for forty minutes before the Tommies won the game in the final :40 seconds and solidified third place in the conference standings. St. Thomas now has a two-game edge over the Gusties with two games to play. Had the Gusties won, the two squads would have been tied for third place and Gustavus would have held the tiebreaker having swept the season series.
The first half was very evenly played with ten lead changes and three ties. The Tommies shot much better from the field making 15-of-32 shots (46.9 percent), while the Gusties struggled making 10-of-33 (30.3 percent). Gustavus made up the difference at the free throw line where it was 12-of-12 compared to only 2-of-4 for St. Thomas. Bri Radtke made two free throws with :06 seconds left to give Gustavus a 33-32 lead at the intermission.
The Gusties got the hot-hand coming out of the locker room and outscored the Tommies 9-2 in the first three minutes of play to extend their lead to eight at 42-34 at the 17:16 mark. Gustavus maintained its eight-point lead through the better part of the next nine minutes of play and increased its lead to 10 points on a couple of different occassions. A three-point basket by Molly Geske gave a Gustavus a 10-point, 54-44 lead with 11:15 remaining in regulation play. Another three-point basket by Geske with 4:30 remaining gave Gustavus an eight-point lead at 61-53. St. Thomas, however would go on a 11-2 run over the next three minutes to take a 64-63 lead with 1:44 left to play. Katie Layman made two free throws with 1:02 remaining to put Gustavus back in the lead 65-64. The Tommies countered with a 12-foot jumper by Jessica Katch with :34 seconds remaining to slide back into the lead at 66-65. The Gusties called timeout to set up a play to Julia Schultz at the other end, but Schultz’s shot was blocked and the Tommies added a lay-up by Lizzi Traxler with :09 left to hold on for the 68-65 victory.
Jessica Katch of St. Thomas led all scorers with 20 points. Other Tommies in double-figures included Lizzi Traxler with 11 and Dee Prioleau with 10. Gustavus had five players reach double figures in scoring including Katie Layman with 14, Emily Nelson with 13, Bri Radtke with 12, and Julia Schultz and Molly Geske with 11 each.