The Gustavus women’s basketball used its pressure defense and fastbreak offense to run past Wartburg College 79-63 on Monday night in St. Peter, Minn. The Gusties used a 12-0 run early in the game to build a double-digit lead at 16-5. The Knights would make a few different runs the rest of the night, but never get closer than nine points and Gustavus claimed its first win of the season in convincing fashion in front of a partisan home crowd. Bri Radtke and Molly Geske led the Gusties with 19 and 18 points, respectively. Gustavus evened its record to 1-1 with the win, while Wartburg falls to 0-2 with the loss.
Gustavus set the tempo early in the game with pressure player-to-player defense that forced 12 first half turnovers that led to 11 fastbreak points. The Gusties also shot 57.6 percent from the field (19-33) including 10 lay-ups. Gustavus used a 15-3 run midway through the first half to extend its lead to 21 points at 40-19 at the 5:00 minute mark. The Knights, however countered with a 14-4 run in the final five minutes of the half and the Gusties led 44-33 at the intermission.
Coach Mickey Haller’s squad used an 8-2 run to start the second half to push the lead back to 17 points at 52-35 with 17:57 on the clock. Wartburg adjusted its strategy in the second half using a 2-2-1 full court press and a 2-3 half-court zone to slow the Gusties down. The change in strategy definitely changed the tempo of the game and the Knights used a 10-2 run to cut the lead back to nine at 54-45 with 12:43 left to play. Molly Geske responded by scoring five straight points for the Gusties pushing the lead back to 14 points at 59-45 and Wartburg would get no closer than 12 points in the final 11 minutes of the game.
Gustavus did a nice job of taking care of the ball committing just 11 turnovers in the game compared to 20 for Wartburg. Senior point guard Bri Radtke turned in a very solid performance with 19 points, 9 rebounds, four assists and just two turnovers. She also made 9-of-10 shots from the free throw line. Sophomore shooting guard Molly Geske also had a balanced performance with 18 points, 7 rebounds, four steals and two assists with no turnovers. Geske also was instrumental in breaking the Wartburg zone making 3-of-7 from behind the arc. Junior post Molly Mathiowetz gave the Gusties a strong inside presence as she scored 14 points (on 6-of-9 shooting) and grabbed eight rebounds. The fourth player to reach double figure scoring for the Gusties was senior wing Julia Schultz who contributed 10 points and five rebounds.
The Gusties shot 45.3 percent from the field (29-64) compared to 42.0 percent for the Knights (21-50). Gustavus held a 40-30 advantage on the boards including an impressive 16 offensive rebounds.
With the win, Gustavus evened the all-time series with Wartburg at 9-9. The Gusties have won seven of the last 11 meetings with the Knights including four straight in St. Peter.
Gustavus will take a week off for the Thanksgiving Break and then return to action next Monday night November 30 at UW-Eau Claire. Wartburg will travel to Menomonie, Wisconsin this weekend to take part in the UW-Stout Invitational on Saturday and Sunday.