St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus women’s basketball team snapped its two-game losing-streak with a 69-42 victory over Bethel University on Wednesday night at Gus Young Court. Leading the way for Gustavus was Abby Rothenbuehler (Sr., North Mankato, Minn.) and Julia Dysthe (Jr., White Bear Lake, Minn.), who scored 26 and 18 points, respectively.
With the win, Gustavus improves to 12-5 overall and 11-3 in the MIAC, while with the loss Bethel drops to 3-14 overall and 2-12 in the MIAC.
“At home against a Bethel team that has struggled this season, we couldn’t take them lightly and we needed to come out and take care of business,” said head coach Laurie Kelly. “Yesterday we did a team activity away from basketball and that sort of helped us take a step back and regroup. It was great to see different players step up tonight, but overall, it was a good confidence builder. We are feeling better about ourselves again and that is big heading into Saturday’s game against Saint Ben’s.”
After shooting below 40-percent from the field in their previous two losses, the Gusties got back on track by shooting 43.5-percent (27-62) tonight against the Royals. Gustavus also went 4-for-14 (28.6%) from three-point range and 11-for-14 (78.6%) at the free throw line.
Gustavus was able to create good looks throughout the evening, and unlike Monday night’s outing, the Gusties were able to knock down shots. “When you don’t hit those shots, especially not early in the game, you start second-guessing yourself and that begins the downward slope,” commented Kelly. “This is a team that needs to start well and tonight we accomplished that.”
It was déjà vu to Gustavus’ first meeting of the season with Bethel for both Dysthe and Rothenbuehler. Dysthe, who led the way with 17 points against the Royals in the first meeting, scored a season-best 18 on 7-for-12 shooting tonight. Rothenbuehler, who notched her first double-double of the season in Arden Hills with 11 points and 10 rebounds, scored a career-best 26 points after going 12-for-19 from the field. The senior completed the double-double by bringing down 15 rebounds, matching her career-best from Dec. 9, 2009 of her rookie year.
“Although making shots early was key, getting both Julia and Roth involved early also made a huge difference,” Kelly remarked. “They got our offense in rhythm during the opening stages and that momentum fed into our defense.”
Kelly continued, “Even though she had been struggling from the floor as of late, Julia’s shot selection was great and she found different ways to score. Abby consistently took what the defense gave her and relentlessly pounded the glass all night – probably her best overall game of the season to this point.”
Gustavus led 28-14 at halftime, shooting 38.7-percent compared to Bethel who shot just 14.8-percent in the opening half. The Gusties held the Royals scoreless for over eight minutes after a layup by Rachel Parupsky cut the lead to 9-4 at the 16:39 mark. By the time Katelyn Vavra stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer at 8:23, Gustavus had built a 19-7 lead.
The Royals were able to cut the deficit to within 10 points just once in the second half when a three by Vavra brought the score to 32-23. From there, Gustavus used a 15-2 scoring run to go up 47-25 by the 10:51 mark. Rothenbuehler scored eight straight points inside a two-minute stretch within the run.
Gustavus outshot Bethel 48.4 to 30.8-percent in the second half.
The Gusties finished with a 45-to-34 rebounding advantage and a victory in the turnover battle 11-to-17. The Black and Gold scored 40 points in the paint compared to Royals’ eight.
Bethel went 12-for-53 (22.6%) from the field, 7-for-20 (35%) from three, and 11-for-14 (78.6%) at the line. Sydney Shcultz was the team’s leading scorer with 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting.
Gustavus will look to keep the ball rolling on Saturday afternoon when it takes on the College of Saint Benedict at 3:00 p.m. on Gus Young Court. The Gusties and Blazers sit tied for second place in the conference with identical league marks of 11-3.
“Saturday against Saint Ben’s will be a dogfight,” coach Kelly said. “From possession-to-possession, it will be a battle in a playoff type atmosphere. Right now there are still five teams jockeying to win this league, so we need to come out and take care of business at home on Saturday.”