Northfield, Minn. - With a late second half surge on Saturday at West Gym, the Gustavus women’s basketball team was able to come away with a 58-47 victory over Carleton College. The Gusties outscored the Knights 23-7 in the final 10 minutes of the game to earn their fifth straight victory.
Gustavus brings to close the 2012 portion of its schedule with the win and will come back next year with an overall record of 6-2 and an MIAC mark of 5-0. With the loss, Carleton drops to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the MIAC.
“When we need to play, we play, and didn’t really take control until the final ten minutes of the game,” said Head Coach Laurie Kelly about her squad’s finish on Saturday afternoon. “We have five wins in league play, but I’ll tell you what, our opponents were in the game all five times. We decide to step it up when its down to crunch time and that is what you saw again tonight.”
Gustavus held on to a low single-digit lead through the opening six minutes of the second half until a Carleton three-pointer by Akemi Arzouman at 12:55 gave the Knight’s their first lead of the half at 36-33. Carleton would go on to build a five point lead (40-35) by the 10:24 mark.
It was at that point that the momentum in West Gym shifted sides. With an improved defensive effort and a new found energy, Gustavus allowed the Knights to score just one point over the ten minutes of game time. The Gusties used a 17-1 scoring-run within that time-frame to take control and go up 52-41 with 1:11 on the clock.
“Our seniors were big for us down the stretch and our free throw shooting once again came up big. We stepped defensely and were we were able to get some stops – that’s when the offense began to pick it up and make some shots,” said Kelly. “Aside from Carleton’s three late three pointers, we held them to just a point for ten minutes. You have to be impressed by a defensive effort like that.”
Gustavus finished the game with a 37.3-percent (19-51) shooting mark from the field. The Gusties also shot 38.5-percent (5-13) from three-point range, and 71.4-percent (15-21) at the free throw line, which included an 8-for-9 performance at the charity stripe in the final four minutes of the game.
After getting the monkey off her back on Wednesday at Bethel, Abby Rothenbuehler (North Mankato, Minn.) recorded her second straightdouble-double after leading all players in both points (15) and rebounds (10). She went 4-for-11 from the field, 2-for-2 from three, and 5-for-6 at the line. Julia Dysthe (White Bear Lake, Minn.) scored 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, and Kelsey Florian (Roseville, Minn.) added 10 after going 2-for-6 from the floor and 6-for-8 at the stripe.
Coach Kelly said that she is happy with the team’s progress through the opening portion of the season and reiterates that her club is one that needs to roll up its sleeves and comes to work every day. “Abby Rothenbuehler, Kelsey Florian, and Julia Dysthe will need to continue to lead us to be our three who show up to play every game. When they do, we are a very tough team to beat. It was nice to see Steph Comer get into the scoring mix, but we are still going to look for more of a contribution from our bench,” stated Kelly.
Carleton was led in scoring by Skylar Tsutsui who had 14 points after going 5-for-11 from the field with four three-pointers. As a team, the Knights shot 32.7-percent (16-49) from the field, 32-percent (8-25) from three, and 58.3-percent (7-12) at the free throw line.
Gustavus will head into the holiday break with an unblemished mark in league play for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
“We’ve played a lot of games in a short period of time, so it is going to be good for us to focus on academics over the last week of classes and finals week,” commented Kelly. “It will be great to get back on the court and work on the basics instead of having to be constantly preparing for an opponent. After a great start, I look forward to the opportunity to grow our program in the right direction.”
The Gusties will kick off the new year at home for just the second time this season on Jan. 2nd. The Three Crowns will play host to Saint Mary’s that night at 7:30 p.m. on Gus Young Court.