The Gustavus women’s basketball team couldn’t complete the regular season series sweep over St. Olaf, falling 67-55 Wednesday night in Northfield, Minn. Gustavus and St. Olaf split the series after the Gusties won game one 62-48 on Jan. 2. With the loss, the Black and Gold fall to 16-4 overall and 14-3 in the MIAC, while the Oles improve to 14-6 overall and 11-6 in conference play.
Gustavus jumped out to a 3-0 lead to start the contest but then allowed five unanswered points by the Oles. St. Olaf held on to the lead for a three-minute span before a three-pointer by Molly Geske put the Gusties back in front 9-7. On the ensuing possession, Kirstee Rotty knotted the game at nine apiece, but Colleen Ruane regained the Gustie lead on the other end of the court. That would be the last lead for Gustavus, though, as a pair of free throws by Sheridan Blanford tied the game and two more by Brittany Webber gave the Oles a lead they never relinquished.
St. Olaf led by as much as six points midway through the first, but another trey by Geske cut the deficit to three at the 9:08 mark. For the remainder of the half, though, the Oles expanded the spread to as much as 11 points and went into the locker room at halftime with a 36-28 lead.
The two squads traded blows throughout the first three minutes of the second, but a layup by Blanford at the 16:36 mark sparked an 18-to-6 Ole run over the next seven minutes, giving the home team a 58-38 lead with 9:15 to go. The Gusties slowly chipped away at the lead over the final minutes, but couldn’t gather the scoring run needed to make the improbable comeback. In the second half alone, Gustavus shot 0-for-8 from beyond the arc and just 2-for-14 the entire game.
Gustavus shot just 31.8-percent (21-66) from the floor with Geske as its leading scorer with 13 points. Abby Rothenbuehler was one rebound shy of her fifth double-double of the season after recording 10 points and nine boards. As a team, the Gusties hauled in 36 rebounds.
The Oles shot 47.1-percent (24-51) from the field with Rotty leading the way. The junior guard scored a game-high 14 points. Erin Haglund, Blanford and Elise Raney also tallied double digits with 12, 10 and 10 points, respectively. Haglund led the team with nine boards and the Oles pulled down 42 collectively.
Saturday, the Gusties travel to St. Catherine University for a 3:00 p.m. tip-off in St. Paul. Gustavus won game one of the series 75-52 on Jan. 7.