The Gustavus women’s basketball team got back in the win column Monday night in St. Peter, Minn. with a 63-58 victory over Augsburg. The Gusties improve to 16-3 overall and 14-2 in the MIAC, while the Auggies fall to 11-8 overall and 8-8 in conference action.
Colleen Ruane posted a game- and season-high 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor, including a three-pointer and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Molly Geske returned to her usual form after a sub-par performance against St. Thomas. Geske tallied 14 points and Abby Rothenbuehler recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Augsburg’s only lead of the game was the game’s first score on a jumper by Serenae Levine. Gustavus responded with ten unanswered points, though, and maintained at least a six-point lead throughout the first 13 minutes of the game. With 6:29 remaining in the half and a 21-12 Gustie lead, a jumper by Molly Geske sparked a quick 8-to-2 run over a two-minute span and the Gusties held on for a 13-point advantage (33-20) at the break.
Gustavus maintained a double-digit lead for the first eight minutes of the second half, leading by as much as 14 at the 14:56 and 12:29 marks, but Augsburg scored seven unanswered points midway through the frame and trailed by seven (43-36) with just over ten minutes on the clock. Four points by the Gusties kicked the lead back up to 11, but the Auggies replied with four unanswered of their own and trailed by seven once again at the 8:10 mark.
The scoring continued to go back-and-forth over the next five minutes with Gustavus leading by as much as 14, but the Auggies never laid down and brought the deficit back to seven with 1:21 left in the game. Augsburg forced four turnovers in the final :62 of the contest, but was unable to convert those takeaways into points and got off just three shots in the final minute.
“The loss on Saturday definitely affected us, but we wanted to play hard and get back on the winning track,” head coach Mickey Haller said. “We also knew that Augsburg had taken a lot of good teams down to the wire and surprised a few teams. They are good ball club that plays hard, so kudos to them. They are a team that may surprise people down the stretch.”
The Gusties shot 47.9-percent (23-of-48) from the floor, while the Auggies shot 36.7-percent (22-of-60). Gustavus also outrebounded Augsburg 41-to-25. Despite committing a season-high 26 turnovers, the Gusties held Augsburg to 21 points off the takeaway.
Serenae Levine, Lexi Thompson and Brittany Zins each tallied 10 points in a losing effort for the Auggies. Nikki Borkhuis hauled in a team-high six boards.
“Hopefully we can gain some confidence back from a few of our players as far as just calming down so that we can get out there and play hard against St. Olaf,” Halled added.
Wednesday, the Gusties travel to Northfield, Minn. to take on St. Olaf. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.