The Gustavus women’s basketball team jumped out to an early lead Monday in St. Peter, Minn. and never looked back on its way to an 87-72 win over Concordia College. With their ninth consecutive victory, the Gusties improve to 10-1 in the MIAC and 12-2 on the year, while the Cobbers fall to 8-6 overall and 6-6 in the conference.
In what comes as no surprise, senior captain Molly Geske led the victors with a season-high 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the floor, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc and tied a season-high with six rebounds. Her 25 points fell just one point short of a career-high, which was set her first year wearing the black and gold.
The Gusties started the game by making 6-of-8 shots from the field to lead 14-3 at the 16:34 mark. The two teams traded blows over the next nine minutes but Geske took control of the game at the 7:37 mark with three consecutive three-pointers in as many trips down the court. The Cobbers didn’t lie down, though, and closed out the half with seven unanswered points and a ten-point deficit (43-33) headed into the locker room.
“Molly was lights out,” head coach Mickey Haller mentioned of Geske’s play. “In fact, they allowed us to get the ball into the post quite a bit and we weren’t hitting them. That was something we want to focus on. Abby Rothenbuehler has done a nice job of being visible and Amanda Iverson is always visible. So we want to get the ball into them and for them to make a smart decision with the ball. But when I saw how well “G” was shooting just in the first half, I told her ‘shoot at will, shoot when you want because you’re on fire and I’m not going to take that away from you.’ And she was definitely feeling it.”
Emily Thesing sunk a three for the Cobbers to start the second bringing the deficit to single-digits (43-36) for the first time since the 16:13 mark in the first, but Haller’s squad responded with eight unanswered to lead 51-36 three minutes into that half. The scoring margin went from 16 at the 15:37 mark, to ten (13:29) and then all the way up to 22 with 6:24 remaining, but once again, there was no quit in the Cobbers. Concordia cut that lead in half to 81-70 with 2:08 left on the clock, but the Gusties closed out the game on a pair of layups by Colleen Ruane and a jumper by Britta Rinke to secure the victory.
Gustavus set season-highs in points (87), three-point field goals made (9) and assists (17). The Gusties forced 19 turnovers and capitalized for 26 points off the takeaway, while committing nine turnovers.
“One of our goals is to generate points off of turnovers and we set that mark high,” Haller said. “Our players want to get twenty-five to thirty points a game in that category. So we are trying to convince our players to go right to the hole off a turnover and tonight they did that. We wanted to cut down our turnovers as well, so it’s nice to see that we only had nine.”
Three Gusites tallied 13 points each on the day – Ruane (tied season-high), Ava Perry (season-high) and Abby Rothenbuehler. Ruane also contributed a season-high seven assists and a game-high five steals. Kelsey Florian added ten points off the bench, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.
Alley Fisher had a monster game in a losing effort for the Cobbers as she was perfect from everywhere on the floor. The first-year guard out of Fargo, N.D. shot 5-of-5 from the field, hit both three-point attempts and went 9-for-9 from the line for a team-high 21 points. Emily Thesing added 19 points and Erika Jossart pitched in 12.
“It wasn’t always a comfortable game for us, but for the most part we felt that we had control,” Haller stated. “We’re a seasoned team and we should walk on the court and be able to compete with anyone.”
The Gusties are back on the road Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. match-up at Hamline. Gustavus took game one of the regular season series 63-41 on Nov. 30.