In a tightly contested contest, Concordia maintained a slight advantage throughout and held on for a 64-56 victory over Gustavus in a MIAC women’s basketball tilt Wednesday night in Moorhead, Minn. The Gusties and Cobbers spilt the regular season series after Gustavus won 87-72 on Jan. 16. With the loss, the Gusties fall to 18-6 overall and 16-5 in the MIAC, while the Cobbers improve to 16-8 overall and 14-7 in league play.
Molly Geske had another strong showing against the Cobbers with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, including a 7-for-8 performance at the free throw line. The senior captain tallied a season-high 25 points in game one of the series.
Gustavus was ahead or tied with Concordia for the first 7:29 of the game until a jumper by Tricia Sorenson put the Cobbers up 10-8. The Gusties maintained pressure, though, and answered each time Concordia gained a lead for the remainder of the half. Gustavus evened the score four times after Concordia initially took the lead, but another jumper by Sorenson gave the Cobbers a 25-23 lead at the buzzer.
Sorenson took control of the first half in front of her home crowd with 15 of the team’s 25 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the floor. Abby Rothenbuehler kept the Gusties in contention with eight points in the first 20 minutes.
Geske knotted the score at 25 apiece in the first :30 of the second, but a layup on the other end of the floor by Alexandra Lippert gave the Cobbers a lead they never surrendered. Concordia gained a seven-point lead (32-25) in a 1:18 span after Geske’s equalizer, but the Gusties brought the deficit down to one (35-34) at the 13:50 mark. The Concordia lead jumped back out to seven with just under eight minutes remaining until once again the Gusties battled back and trailed by two (53-51) with two minutes on the clock.
The final two minutes were all Concordia, though, as the Cobbers converted 7-of-9 shots from the charity stripe after five Gustie fouls. Gustavus missed five consecutive shots in the final two minutes before Colleen Ruane brought the score to 64-56 at the final buzzer.
Concordia turned the ball over 21 times, but the Gusties could only collect 17 points off the takeaway. Gustavus coughed up the rock 16 times and shot 36.5-percent (19-52) from the field, while the Cobbers shot 48-percent (24-50). Concordia also outrebounded the Gusties 37-to-29.
Three Cobbers reached double figures with Sorenson leading the way. She tallied 22 points, Lippert recorded 15 and Emily Thesing added 10. Along with Geske, Rothenbuehler collected double digits with 10 points and Eli Benz hauled in a game-high nine rebounds.
For the first time this season, Gustavus has lost back-to-back games and has only one game remaining before hosting a MIAC semifinal game on February 23. The Gusties complete the regular season Saturday against Bethel in a 1:00 p.m. tip-off. The last regular season game is tabbed as Senior Day and will also raise cancer awareness. Tickets purchased by those in attendance wearing pink will profit breast cancer research and the Play 4Kay Foundation.