The Gustavus women’s basketball team broke open a tight game with an 11-2 run over a seven-minute stretch late in the second half to post a 56-44 win over Bethel on Wednesday night at Gus Young Court in St. Peter. Bri Radtke turned in a strong all-around performance for the Gusties as she scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out six assists. Gustavus improves to 16-8 overall and 14-7 in the MIAC.
Bethel got off to a quick start and led 12-4 six minutes into the first half. The Gusties, however countered with a 15-6 run over the eight minutes and led 19-18 with 6:33 left in the half. The score remained close for the final six minutes and Bri Radtke’s three-point basket with :16 seconds before the intermission gave the Gusties a 28-26 lead at halftime.
It was Gustavus that got off to a fast start in the second half scoring five straight points to increase its lead to seven at 33-26 at the 17:59 mark. Bethel quickly countered with a 5-0 run in the next minute of play to cut the lead to two at 33-31 with 17:05 on the clock. That is as close as the Royals would get to the Gusties in the second half. Gustavus built its lead back up to eight at 43-35 and then Bethel responded with a 4-0 run to get within four points at 43-39 with 9:28 left to play. The Gusties, however would outscore the Royals 13-5 over the final nine minutes and claim the 56-44 victory.
Both teams played very aggressive defense, which led to lower than average shooting and a lot of turnovers. Gustavus shot 36.5 percent from the field (19-52), while Bethel shot 34.6 percent from the field (18-52). The Gusties were perfect from the free throw line (12-12), while the Royals made 6-of-10. Bethel registered 10 steals and committed 22 turnovers, while Gustavus recorded 12 steals and committed 23 turnovers. The Gusties out-rebounded the Royals 39-30.
Three players scored in double figures for Gustavus including Katy Layman with 14, Bri Radtke with 12 and Molly Geske with 10. Kristen Wolters led Bethel with 10 points.
The Gustavus victory combined with Hamline’s loss to St. Kate’s (83-66) allowed the Gusties to clinch the #4 seed in the MIAC Playoffs, which means the Gusties will host either Bethel or Hamline next Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 pm on Gus Young Court. Gustavus will be making its ninth consecutive appearance in the MIAC Post-Season Tournament. The Gusties and St. Ben’s are the only two programs in the MIAC to have appeared in the conference tournament every year since it was initiated in the 2000-01 season.
Gustavus will close out its regular season schedule at home on Saturday against Saint Ben’s at 3:00 pm.