The Gustavus women’s basketball team saw its 2008-09 season come to an end with a 75-59 loss to Bethel in a MIAC Quarterfinal Playoff game on Tuesday night at Gus Young Court. Bethel used a 15-5 run over the final four minutes to break open a tight game and claim its first MIAC Playoff win in the program’s history. The Gusties, who were led by senior Emily Nelson with 17 points, end their season with a record of 16-10.
The game was played with playoff intensity from the very start and the biggest lead by either team in the first half was four points. The score was tied once and the lead changed hands five times. Both teams shot very well also, as Gustavus made 52.2 percent of its shots (12-23), while Bethel made 58.3 percent of its shots (14-24). The Gusties were perfect from the free throw line (5-5), while the Royals made 7-of-10. Bethel took a 37-33 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
Bethel quickly pushed its lead to seven points at 40-33 when Kristen Wolters hit a three-point basket in the first minute of the second half. The Royals used two Kiersten Hansen free throws to push their lead to eight at 50-42 with 14:12 left to play, however the Gusties countered with an 8-0 run to tie the score at 50-50 at the 12:21 mark. The Royals called a timeout and then went on an 9-0 run of their own and led 59-50 with 5:45 left to play. Gustavus would battle back and pull within six points at 54-60 with 4:00 minutes on the clock, but that is as close as the Coach Mickey Haller’s squad would get as Bethel outscored the Gusties 15-5 the rest of the way to claim the 75-59 victory.
The win was a big one for the Royals as they advanced to the MIAC Playoff Semifinals for the first time in the program’s history and snapped a 17-game losing streak to the Gusties dating back to February of 2001. Bethel will now face #1 seed Saint Ben’s in St. Joseph on Thursday at 7:30 pm.
Autumn Beasley of Bethel led all scorers with 21 points. Four other Bethel players reached double figures including Taylor Sheley with 14, Shana Grejtak with 11, and Annegret Nautsch and Kiersten Hansen with 10 each.
Gustavus was led by Emily Nelson with 17 points, followed by Bri Radtke with 10. Nelson completed her successful Gustavus career with 698 points in 92 games (7.6 ppg), 100 three-point baskets (5th in program history), and 151 steals (11th in program history).
The Gusties are now 4-3 in MIAC Playoff Quarterfinal games and 6-9 in MIAC Playoff games overall. This is only the third time in the past nine years that the Gusties have not advanced to the MIAC Playoff Semifinal round.