The Gustavus women’s basketball team was able to ride out a strong second half surge by Carleton on its way to a 68-63 on Saturday afternoon in St. Peter, Minn. The Gusties led for the entire game, scoring 25 points off 15 Knight turnovers in the first half to get out to an early advantage.
“We played a really good first 20 minutes. We got a lot of kids in the game that don’t see a lot of court time, and they brought great energy into the game,” said Head Coach Mickey Haller. “Tonight we turned turnovers into points, and that was the difference. We have said all season that our defense feeds our offense and that is the way it worked tonight.”
Gustavus gets back in the win column and improves to 5-5 in the MIAC and 6-7 overall. Carleton falls to 2-7 in the MIAC and 3-9 overall.
Molly Mathiowetz and Colleen Ruane led the Gusties with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Carleton had four players finish in double-figures with Ally Weaver leading the way with a game-high 17 points. Emma Purfeerst recorded a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Gustavus started the game with a 7-0 run, scoring on three of their first four possesions. The Knights climbed back to cut the lead to 12-11 by the 12:35 mark on a three pointer by Ally Weaver. Weaver scored nine first half points and was 2-for-3 from three point range. Gustavus responded with a 13-3 run that put them up 25-14 with nine minutes left in the half.
Following a jumper by Eli Benz at the 4:33 point that extended the lead to 31-20, the Gusties would hold on to a double-digit advantage for the remainder of the half. A Benz free throw with :39 seconds left gave Gustavus a 41-27 edge at the break.
The Gusties got 21 points from its bench in the first half, as Mathiowetz and Molly Geske led the way with eight points each. Gustavus was 14-for-31 from the field, while Carleton was 10-for-19. Akemi Arzouman led the Knights in scoring with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting in the half.
After she missed a three pointer on Gustavus’ first possession of the second half, Kelsey Florian buried her second try a minute later to give Gustavus its largest lead of the game at 15 points (44-29). From that point on, Carleton would slowly chip away at the lead. The Knights brought the score within nine points (46-37) at the 15:05 mark, yet Benz put Gustavus back up 48-37 on the next possession. The bucket by Benz would be the last Gustie field goal for an over seven minute span.
The Knight’s used an 8-3 run with to cut the Gustavus lead to 59-55 with 4:11 remaining in the game. The Gusties held on to a five-point lead until Purfeerst hit a pair of free throws that brought the score to within three points (62-59) with under a minute to play. With the shot clock winding down on the ensuing possession, Mathiowetz buried a 16-foot jumper from the left wing to put Gustavus back up five points. Ruane and Kelsey Florian combined to go 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final :18 seconds to put the game out of reach.
“We thought about about subbing late, but decided to go with our veterans. It was great for Colleen to hit those free throws at the end because she has worked so hard on her shooting in the past few years,” commented Haller. “Mathiowetz’s shot at the end was so big for us. It is those kind of shots that are a slam dunk for this team.”
Carleton outscored Gustavus 36-to-27 in the second half, as the Knights went 12-for-29 from the field in the second half, while Gustavus was a cold 6-for-24. The Knights outrebounded Gustavus 27-to-15 in the frame, outscoring them 20-to-6 in the paint.
The Gusties shot 36.4-percent (20-55) from the field, 31.6-percent (6-19) from three point range, and 81.5-percent (22-27) from the line in the game. Carleton shot 45.8-percent (22-48) from the field, 33.3-percent (3-9) from three, and 64-percent (16-25) at the line.
The Gusties won the turnover battle 14-to-24 in the game, yet were outrebounded 40-to-30.
Colleen Ruane and Abby Rothenbuehler led the Gusties with a game-high four assists each. Florian, Ruan, Rothenbuehler, and Ava Perry combined to go a perfect 14-for-14 at the charity stripe, and Steph Comer led the Gusties in three point shooting by going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc for nine points.
The Gustavus women’s basketball team will begin a three-game road-stand next week with Augsburg on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Minneapolis.