St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus women’s basketball could not recover from a slow start in Wednesday night’s 65-43 loss to No. 3 St. Thomas at Gus Young Court. The Tommies burst out of the gate to a 12-0 lead and didn’t look back, holding on to a comfortable double digit advantage for over 32 minutes of the contest.
With the victory, St. Thomas takes over sole possession of first place in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference at 11-1 overall and 9-0 in league play. Gustavus sees its eight-game winning-streak come to an end with the loss, falling to 9-3 overall and 8-1 in the MIAC.
“Tonight’s start was critical and we didn’t come out the way we would have liked,” said head coach Laurie Kelly. “St. Thomas is a team that steps on the court with the confidence game in an game out. They took us out of our element early and that played a huge factor in the outcome.”
By the time the clock read 15:57, St. Thomas had capitalized on six Gustavus turnovers and grabbed a 12-0 lead. Abby Rothenbuehler (Sr., North Mankato, Minn.) stopped the bleeding with a right-handed layup at the 15:29 mark to put the Gusties on the scoreboard down 12-2.
Gustavus would come within eight points on three occasions over the next three minutes, yet could not close the gap any further.
St. Thomas held Gustavus to just 6-for-23 shooting from the field and 0-for-8 shooting from three-point range in the first half. St. Thomas went 13-for-34 from the field and 3-for-9 from three.
“Our leaders have to play well for us to win games, I’ve said that all season,” Kelly remarked. “We need to get players like Rothenbuehler and Schoeder more involved in the offense and get them more touches. A credit to S. Thomas’ defense, they kept the ball out wide and we lost our composure on offense, especially in the first half.”
The Tommies began the second half with a 5-0 run that put them up 38-17 within the first minutes. They would lead by as many as 23 points on three occasions in the opening ten minutes, stifling any Gustavus runs and going up by as many as 25 points by the 7:25 mark.
Stephanie Comer (Sr., Minnetonka, Minn.) paced all players in the second half with 10 points after going 3-for-4 from the floor and 2-for-3 from behind the arc. Comer finished with 10, while Kelsey Florian (Sr., Roseville, Minn.) shared the team lead with 10 points on 3-for-7 shooting.
Gustavus finished the game 16-for-46 (34.8%) from the field, 3-for-15 (20%) from three-point range, and 8-for-10 (80%) at the line. The Gusties committed 24 turnovers and were overpowered in bench scoring 22-to-4.
Leading the Tommies in scoring with a game-high 14 points was Taylor Young who went 5-for-9 from the floor. Jenna Docther scored 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting, and Kelly Brandenberg scored 10 after going 4-for-13.
As a team, St. Thomas shot 41.4-percent (24-58) from the field, 33.3-percent (5-15) from three, and 75-percent (12-16) at the stripe. The Tommies brought down 36 rebounds compared to Gustavus’ 31.
“We need to get better and tonight’s game will be a great learning tool,” Kelly stated. “St. Thomas exposed a lot of areas that we are weak in, but we have to roll up our sleeves and go to work on Friday. We will watch film on ourselves, make some adjustments, and work to get better. Tonight’s loss hurts no doubt, but we are playing better basketball in January than we were in December and I expect that trend to continue.”
The Gustavus women’s basketball team will take to the road on Saturday, Jan. 12 for a game against St. Catherine set to tip off at 3:00 p.m.