The Gustavus women’s basketball team suffered a 64-61 defeat at the hands of Saint Benedict on a snowy afternoon Saturday in St. Joseph, Minn. The Blazers gained a three-point advantage by sinking a pair of free throws with :09 seconds left. Molly Mathiowetz and Molly Geske led Gustavus with 17 and 15 points, respectively, while Blazer Amy Stifter led all scorers with 24 points.
With the victory, Saint Ben’s moves into third place in the MIAC standings with a MIAC record of 4-1 and an overall record of 7-1. Gustavus finishes the 2010 portion of its season with a MIAC record of 3-2 and an overall record of 4-4, sitting in fifth place in the conference standings.
Gustavus took an early 8-2 advantage within the first four minutes of play. The Blazers battled back to tie the game (12-12) at the 12:16 mark. The score would be tied six times in the game as there were five lead changes.
A pair of free throws by Hannah Hylla gave Saint Benedict its largest lead of the contest at ten points (31-21) within the fourth minute. The Gusties would cut the lead to 31-24 at the break. Gustavus shot 31.3 percent and St. Ben’s shot 41.4 percent in the first half.
The Gusties would not take back the lead until the 10:08 mark of the second half, going up by six points (49-43) with less than eight minutes to play. The Blazers went back on top for the final time with 4:08 left. Gustavus tied the game at 61-61 at the 2:44 point on a three pointer by Molly Geske. After more than two minutes of scoreless basketball, a free throw by Heather Gillund with :22 seconds left and two more added by Amy Stifter with :09 seconds on the clock put the Blazers up for good.
Molly Geske had 13 second half points, as the Gusties shot 39.4 percent from the field. Stifter led the Blazers with 11 points, and Saint Benedict shot 38.1 percent within the frame.
Saint Ben’s was 20-for-50 from the field, 6-for-17 from three point range, and 18-for-20 from the free throw line. Gustavus shot 23-for-65 from the field, 7-for-19 from three, and 8-for-12 from the line. Gustavus outrebounded the Blazers 34-30 in the game and 12-3 on the offensive end.
“We played a hard fought game. Even after we turned the ball over 17 times in the first half we were still in it, which says a lot about this team,” said Head Coach Mickey Haller. “We played a great second half a couple of things didn’t go our way at the end.”
The Gustauvs women’s basketball team will return to the court following Christmas break on Jan. 3 for a MIAC matchup with Hamline in St. Paul.