The Gustavus women’s basketball team cruised to its 12th consecutive victory with a 70-44 decision over Carleton Wednesday night in St. Peter, Minn. completing the regular season series sweep. The Gusties improve to 15-2 overall and 13-1 in the MIAC, while the Knights fall to 2-15 overall and 1-13 in conference action.
Four Gusties reached double-digits with Abby Rothenbuehler leading the way. The North Mankato, Minn. native shot 7-of-9 from the field for 14 points and was one rebound shy (9) of a double-double. Eli Benz tallied 13 points, Molly Geske pitched in 12 and Colleen Ruane added 10 and five boards.
Carleton’s only lead of the game was right off the bat on a layup by Jenny Ramey. But Benz responded with a jumper and a layup by Rothenbuehler gave the Gusties a lead they never relinquished. With the score 14-8 at the 12:05 mark, the Gusties scored 14 unanswered points for a 20-point lead (28-8) with 6:21 to go and then coasted into halftime with a 38-23 advantage.
The Gusties had multiple opportunities to score off the takeaway in fastbreak situations, but ended up scoring 19 points off 16 turnovers.
“At this point in the year we have to learn how to finish on the offensive side after contact is made,” head coach Mickey Haller acknowledged. “Right now, we don’t feel that we are finishing as well as we could after contact is made. And it’s not always fouls. But we need to learn to go up strong and finish, not settle for the free throw and convert on those close-range shots. That’ll be one of our main focuses from here out.”
After the break, the Knights started the second half with four unanswered points to cut the deficit to 13, but that was the closest they got with the Gusties gaining their largest lead of the game 70-44 at the final buzzer.
Gustavus shot 41.8-percent (28-for-67) from the field, while Carleton wasn’t much less at 38.8-percent but only shot the ball 49 times with 19 conversions. The Gusties also outrebounded the Knights 50-to-27, marking the most boards since Dec. 9, 2009 when they hauled in 51 against Augsburg.
Akemi Arzouman paced the Knights as their only scorer in double figures. Arzouman totaled a game-high 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor and hauled in a team-high five rebounds.
Next up for the Gustie women is the all-important game two against MIAC-leading St. Thomas. The Gusties are just one game behind the Tommies in the conference standings and the two teams will battle Saturday afternoon for the top spot. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Gus Young Court.
“We know we’re playing well right now and we know that we can play with them,” Haller mentioned of St. Thomas. “They are a very talented squad and of course we want to keep Taylor Young down, and get our defense going. I think we’ve adjusted a lot of things since the first time we played them and our mentality just needs to stay relaxed. If we play our game the way we know how to, we’ll come away with a win.”