Although floor temperatures on Gus Young Court where in the low 60’s, the Gustavus women’s basketball was able heat things up with strong perimeter defense and a solid shooting performance on the way to a 76-55 win over St. Catherine on Wednesday night in St. Peter, Minn. Gustavus matched its season-high point total and went a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe in the victory.
Head Coach Mickey Haller expected her squad to have a turn-around game after suffering a loss on the road to Hamline Monday night, and the Gusties responded with solid upperclassmen and bench play. Molly Geske (20 pts), Ava Perry (16 pts), and Molly Mathiowetz (14 pts) led the way with a combined 40 points, while the Gustavus bench contributed 32 points on the night.
The Gusties improve to 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the MIAC with the victory, while St. Catherin drops to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in the MIAC.
Following a three pointer by St. Kate’s Kristen Lee at the 13:42 mark of the first half, the Gusties built a 10-point lead (27-17) following a 13-4 run. Key three pointers at opportune times kept the Wildcats in the game late in the half as they went 6-for-10 from behind the arc. After St. Catherine cut the lead to 29-25 by the 6:17 point, the Gusties built a 13-point lead with less than two minutes remaining. They headed into the locker room with a 40-29 advantage at the break.
Ava Perry led the Gusties with 12 points in the half. She went 2-for-2 from beyond the arc and was a perfect 6-for-6 at the line. Perry would finish the game 4-for-8 from the field and 2-for-5 from downtown. The Gusties were 16-for-32 from the field in the opening frame, while St. Catherine was 10-for-29.
The Gusties got out in front 51-38 by the 13:26 mark of the second half. St. Kate’s threatened with a 10-2 run (53-46), yet Gustavus responded with an 11-0 run to extend the lead to 64-46 with 9:22 remaining. Julia Dysthe gave Gustavus its largest lead of the night at 23 points (76-53) with a three pointer with under two minutes left to play.
Molly Geske led the Gusties with 12 second half points, going 3-for-6 from the field, 2-for-3 from three point range, and 4-for-4 from the line. Despite committing 14 turnovers in the half, the Gusties shot 13-for-27 from the field, while St. Catherine was 11-for-28.
Gustavus out-rebounded the Wildcats in the game 37-to-30, as Abby Rothenbuehler brought down a team-high nine boards. Mathiowetz was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Geske finished with eight boards and was 7-for-12 from the field, 2-for-3 from three point range, and 4-for-4 at the line. It was the third time this season that Geske has scored 20 or more points.
The Gusties held the MIAC’s second leading scorer Laura Kalbfell relatively in check throughout the night. Kalbfell had a team-high 15-points on 6-of-17 shooting. Megan Zillmer and Sonja Ellingson also hit double-figures with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
The Gusties shot 49.2-percent (25-59) from the field and 35.5-percent (6-17) from three point range. St. Catherine shot 36.8-percent (21-57) from the field, 7-for-16 from three, and 75-percent (6-8) from the free throw line.
The Gustavus women’s basketball team will look to finish the week strong with a road test against MIAC leader St. Thomas on Saturday afternoon in St. Paul. Tip-off is set for 1:00 p.m.