For the first time in head coach Mickey Haller’s 12-year career at the helm, the Gustavus women’s basketball team logged six players with double-digit points in an 84-75 victory over the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. on Wednesday night. The scoring outpour from multiple players propelled the Gusties to their seventh consecutive MIAC victory, improving to 8-1 in the conference and 10-2 overall, while the Blazers fall to 7-5 overall and 4-5 in the MIAC.
All five starters and one reserve registered double-digits for the victors. Senior captain Molly Geske led the way with 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field. Colleen Ruane tallied 13 points, Ava Perry 11, Eli Benz and Abby Rothenbuehler 10, and Kelsey Florian added 13 off the bench.
The contest went back-and-forth throughout the first nine minutes of play until Florian sunk a jumper at the 10:55 mark to give the Gusties a 19-18 lead. From there on the Gusties never relinquished the lead and finished the first half on a 29-to-19 run with a 48-37 lead at the break.
The Gusties led by as much as 16 at the 13:28 mark in the second, but they watched their lead slowly dissipate to four on a three-pointer by Jamie Wollin with 1:52 remaining in the contest. But from then on out, the Blazers found themselves in foul trouble and the Black and Gold converted 8-of-10 shots from the charity stripe to close out the game. The win completed the regular season series sweep over Saint Ben’s, as Gustavus won game one 81-64 on Dec. 10 in St. Peter, Minn.
“I can’t remember the last time we swept Saint Ben’s in the regular season,” Haller acknowledged. “We won the battle at the boards, which was huge, and at the free throw line as well.”
Haller has good reason not to remember the last time her squad swept the Blazers in the regular season since it hasn’t happened since the 2001-02 campaign – her second year on the job.
The Gusties set season-highs in points (84), free throws made (19) and free throw attempts (27). They also turned the ball over just 12 times, which marks the second-least on the year. Gustavus out-rebounded the Blazers 35-to-27.
Saint Ben’s also had a strong showing from multiple players as four Blazers recorded double-digit points. Sam Larsen led the way in a losing effort with a game-high 22 points.
Gustavus returns home Saturday afternoon for another MIAC match-up against Macalester. The contest will mark the 1,000th game in program history for the Gustavus women’s basketball team. It will also mark the 300th game played on Gus Young Court for the Gustie women. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.