The Gustavus Women’s Basketball team fell 65-58 to MIAC-leading St. Thomas on Saturday afternoon in St. Peter, Minn. The Tommies’ Taylor Young scored a game-high 18 points, as St. Thomas took advantage of the Gusties’ low accuracy from the floor. Gustavus falls to 14-9 overall and 13-7 in the MIAC, while St. Thomas improves to 18-5 overall and 17-3 in the MIAC.
In the first half, the Tommies jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead by the 16:28 mark, but the Gusties were able to battle back, chipping away until they were down just two (12-10) with 9:57 remaining. The two teams exchanged leads for the latter part of the half, with neither team enjoying an advantage of more than four points until Caroline Dienhart was able to make a layup with four seconds left to give St. Thomas a five-point margin (32-27) heading into halftime. Ava Perry (10) and Abby Rothenbuehler (8) led Gustavus in scoring in the half, while Rachel Booth (12) and Sarah Smith (10) paced St. Thomas. The Tommies outshot the Gusties 50-percent (13-26) to 26.7-percent (8-30) in the opening period.
After the game Head Coach Mickey Haller addressed the number of shots taken from the perimeter. “We need to have more confidence in ourselves and our ability to get the ball inside,” Haller said.
To open the second half, St. Thomas widened its lead to 34-27 after Booth’s layup at the 19:45 mark. The Gusties stormed back, cutting the lead to two at 36-34 after Kelsey Florian sank a three-pointer with 16:47 remaining. Gustavus would come no closer, as St. Thomas was able to maintain a narrow cushion for the rest of the contest. The Gusties’ best opportunity for a comeback came with :26 seconds left when Molly Geske drained two free throws to trim the lead to five (63-58). After Kelly Brandenberg missed a jumper with 13 seconds remaining, Geske grabbed the rebound and worked the ball down the court to Florian, whose three-point attempt would fall just short. The rebound was grabbed by St. Thomas’ Dienhart, who was immediately fouled by Steph Comer and drained the ensuing free throws for the seven-point (65-58) Tommie win.
The Gusties were led in scoring by Molly Mathiowetz (12), Geske (11), Rothenbuehler (11) and Perry (10), while Taylor Young (18), Smith (14), and Booth (14) led St. Thomas. Gustavus shot a disappointing 30.4 percent (17-56) from the floor, while St. Thomas knocked down 48.9 percent (22-45) of their shots on the day.
“I know our players go out and play hard, but it almost felt like we were holding back a little bit,” Haller said. “We’re not going to worry about what other teams are doing, we have to focus on what we’re doing and take it game by game.”
The Gusties return to action on Wednesday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m. when they host Augsburg in St. Peter.