St. Paul – The Gustavus Adolphus women’s basketball team managed to come away with a 66-56 victory on the road over Macalester on Monday night at the Leonard Center. With the win, Gustavus achieves its eighth straight conference victory and is off to its best in league play since the 2003-04 season when the Gusties also began 8-0. The Black and Gold is now 9-2 overall, while Macalester drops to 4-7 overall and 3-5 in the MIAC.
“It’s a road win,” said Head Coach Laurie Kelly, “and when you can win on the road in this league, we’ll take it. Macalester is a tough team at home – they play hard, they’re scrappy, and they’re strong on the glass. Because of that they have been able to stay in games.”
Trailing 4-3 to start the game, Gustavus used a 9-0 scoring run to go up 12-4 by the 15:31 mark. Macalester would hang around through the half, not allowing the Gusties to open up their lead. With a 16-6 advantage, Macalester went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to three points by the 10:42 mark. The Gustie lead would remain in the high single digits for the remaining half, as the teams would head into halftime with the score 33-27 in favor of Gustavus.
Gustavus was hot from the field to start the game once again, shooting 56.6-percent from the field in the opening frame.
“In the first half we shot well but just let them hang around,” said Kelly. “We realized in the second half that we needed to start playing Gustie basketball. After a strong stretch where we played our game and got up by more than 20 we sort of took our foot off the gas. I would have like to see us finish a stronger.”
Following a pair of free throws by Julia Dysthe (Jr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) three minutes into the half, Gustavus took back a double-digit advantage at 41-31. The Scots would cut the lead to under 10 points just once for the remainder of the game. The run that broke Macalester’s back came in a four-minute span starting with an Abby Rothenbuehler (Sr., North Mankato, Minn.) jumper at the 15:43 mark. Gustavus used a 15-4 run within that time to extended its lead to 58-38 with 12:16 on the clock.
For the third straight game, Gustavus finished above 50-percent from the field as a team. The Gusties went 27-for-48 (56.3%) from the field, 4-for-7 (57.1%) from three-point range, and 8-for-12 (66.7%) at the free throw line.
“We had four players in double-figures so it was another balanced scoring night for us,” commented Kelly. “Over the last three games we have shot the ball over 50-percent from the floor. When you shoot that well, a lot of good things are going to happen.”
Kelsey Florian (Sr., Roseville, Minn.) led the Gusties in scoring with 15 points after going 5-for-9 from the field, knocking down a three-pointer, and going 4-for-6 at the line.
Rothenbuehler finished next in line with 12 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while Dysthe and Karina Schroeder (Fy., Lake Crystal, Minn.) both scored 10 points after posting identical 4-for-6 shooting marks.
Macalester shot 36.8-percent (21-57) from the field and was led in scoring by Veronika Jakubovie. Jakubovie scored a game-high 18 points after an 8-for-15 shooting night.
After an unblemished start in league play, coach Kelly is excited for Wednesday night’s showdown between the two top ranked teams in the MIAC. “We are going to enjoy tonight’s win and get ready for Wednesday. To win eight straight is a great accomplishment for these ladies and we’re very proud of them. There is a lot of basketball yet to be played and we are going to keep taking it day by day. The Tommies have our attention over the next two days and we look forward to the opportunity.”