Northfield, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus women’s basketball team dropped its second straight MIAC contest on Monday night, falling 62-49 to St. Olaf College in the Skoglund Center. Although the final count showed both teams shooting similar percentages from the field, turnovers were the difference as Gustavus had 19 compared to St. Olaf’s eight. Gustavus drops to 11-5 overall and 10-3 in the MIAC with the loss, while the Oles improve to 8-8 overall and 6-7 in the MIAC with the win.
“If you look at our shot selection and those who are taking the shots, they are the right shots by the right people. It just seems like there is a lid on the rim right now and we’re going to have to get past that,” said had coach Laurie Kelly. “We got the looks we wanted throughout the night, but we had 19 turnovers. When the shots aren’t falling, taking care of the ball becomes that much more vital and that is where our upperclassmen need to come through.”
The two teams went back and forth for the opening nine minutes of the game. A Britta Rinke (Jr., Waconia, Minn.) jumper at the 11:29 mark of the first half tied the game at 16-16. St. Olaf went up 23-18 following Rinke’s make, yet Gustavus responded with a 7-0 scoring run to take a 25-23 lead by the 7:17 point.
Stephanie Comer’s (Sr., Minnetonka, Minn.) three-pointer, which gave Gustavus the two-point edge (25-23), was the team’s final field goal of the first half. The Oles clamped down on defense and didn’t allow a singe point for the remaining 7:17 of the frame. St. Olaf took advantage of Gustavus’ scoring drought and went into break on top 33-25.
Gustavus turned the ball over nine times in the first half and shot 38.5-percent from the field. St. Olaf did not register a turnover in the opening 20 minutes and shot 41.2-percent.
The Gusties got behind early in the opening stage of the second half, as Kim Cerjan put the Oles on top 39-30 with 14:52 left to play.
Gustavus battled back to cut the deficit to four points (44-40) with 9:09 remaining after Karina Schroeder knocked down a pair of free throws. St. Olaf scored the next five points and was back up 49-40 with 6:39 left to play. St. Olaf built a double-digit lead two minutes later and would let the Gusties cut the deficit to inside 10 points on only one occasion for the remainder of the game.
Gustavus finished 19-for-50 (38%) from the field, 3-for-17 (17.6%) from three-point range, and 8-for-11 (72.7%) at the free throw line. Gustavus outrebounded the Oles 41-33, yet had just four steals all night.
Karina Schroeder (Fy., Lake Crystal, Minn.) led the way in scoring with 13 points after going 4-for-8 from the field and 5-for-7 at the charity stripe.
“We had one player shoot better than 50-percent from the floor and you just can’t have that if you want to consistently get wins in this league,” said Kelly. “When a few people aren’t shooting well, you need other players to step up and hit shots – that has been a key to our success this season. Unfortunately we didn’t have that tonight.”
St. Olaf was led in scoring by Mackenzie Wolter and Elise Raney. Wolter scored 15 points on 5-of-15 shooting, and Raney scored 14 points after going 7-of-13.
The Oles went 22-for-56 (39.3%) from the floor, 4-for-17 (23.5%) from three-point range, and 14-for-24 (58.3%) at the line.
Laurie Kelly commented that this is a significant point in the season for her squad and the rest of the conference. “We are beginning to face everyone for the second time and the MIAC as a whole is jockeying for position,” she stated.
“We have to get back on track and go back to work. We are at home against Bethel on Wednesday and I expect our shooters to get some confidence back and knock down shots. Every team goes through its challenges and right now we are facing ours. How we respond is going to be a major factor in how we finish the season.”
The Gustavus women’s basketball team will be back on the court Wednesday when it takes on Bethel University at 7:30 p.m. on Gus Young Court.