Conference standings proved to be of no meaning Saturday afternoon in St. Paul as second place Gustavus fell 65-56 to eighth place Macalester in MIAC women’s basketball action. The Gusties fall to 18-5 overall and 16-4 in the MIAC, while the Scots improve to 11-12 overall and 9-11 in league play.
After three lead changes to start the first 4:38 of the game, Gustavus took a 9-8 lead and never let go of it throughout the first half. The Gusties scored 11 unanswered points within a 5:29 span for a 16-8 lead – their largest lead of the game – midway through the half. Macalester responded with a 12-to-3 run over the next five minutes, cutting the deficit to one (20-19), but a three-pointer by Molly Geske gave the Gusties a four-point lead with five minutes left in the half. Gustavus led 32-26 at the break.
The Gusties led by four to eight points during the first five minutes of the second, but back-to-back treys by Shannon Rene tied the game at 39 with 14:07 remaining. The two squads battled over the next 11 minutes with seven lead changes before Molly Geske sunk a three at the 2:59 mark to tie the game at 56. From there on out, though, it was all Macalester. The Gusties committed five fouls in the last 2:27 as the Scots converted 7-of-9 shots from the line. Gustavus also went 0-for-5 from the field and 0-for-2 from the line in the final 2:04. Macalester earned the regular season series split after losing to the Gusties 71-44 on Jan. 14 in St. Peter.
Free throws made a difference in the outcome of Saturday afternoon’s match-up. Gustavus – typically a 71.1-percent team from the charity stripe – shot 46.2-percent (6-13) from the line. Kelsey Florian was the only Gustie to make a free throw as she went 6-for-8 on the day. On the other end of the court, the Scots performed over their season average of 61.7-percent and converted 20-of-26 (.769) shots from the line.
Macalester had four players in double-digit scoring. Jessica Rene and Holly Schiedermayer led all scorers with 16 points each. Maggie Wood collected 12 points and Kyanna Jones 10. Molly Geske and Abby Rothenbuehler led the Gusties with 12 points each.
The Gustie women will try to get back on track with only two games remaining before they host a MIAC Semifinal Playoff game. Wednesday, the Gusties make the long journey to Moorhead, Minn. for a 5:45 p.m. showdown with third place Concordia.