St. Paul – The Gustavus women’s basketball team suffered a tightly-contested 80-78 loss to Hamline University on Saturday afternoon at Hutton Arena. Trailing by five points (76-71) with 1:07 left in the game, Gustavus would cut the lead to two twice inside the final minute. Thanks to clutch shooting from the floor and at the free throw line down the stretch, Hamline was able to score on its final four possessions and secure the two-point victory.
The Pipers have now won four straight games, improving to 10-10 overall and 10-7 in the MIAC. Gustavus has dropped three straight and five of its last six, falling to 12-8 overall and 11-6 with the loss.
With a 9-8 edge four minutes into the game, Gustavus went on a 9-1 run to open up its lead to nine points (18-9) with 13:11 left in the first half. Hamline began to chip away at the lead at that point, cutting the deficit to two points (24-22) at the eight minute mark and one point (28-27) less than two minutes following at 6:19.
A layup by Steph Pilgrim with :30 seconds on the clock brought the score to 35-33 in favor of the Gusties at the break. Gustavus shot 45.5-percent in the first half, as Abby Rothenbuehler (Sr., North Mankato, Minn.) led the way in scoring with nine points after going 4-for-5 from the field. Britta Rinke (Jr., Waconia, Minn.) added seven points on 3-of-5 shooting.
Both squads shot over 50-percent from the field in the second half. Gustavus shot 55.2-percent, while Hamline shot 50-percent which included a 9-for-16 showing from three-point range.
The Pipers took their first lead since the opening two minutes of the game when Je’Naya Brown scored to put her squad up 38-37 at the 18:35 mark of the second. Once Hamline took a 41-37 lead, Gustavus bounced back with its best scoring-run of the night. The Gusties scored 11 straight points to grab a 48-41 lead by 14:36.
Gustavus held the advantage until the 5:33 mark when a three-pointer by Steph Pilgrim put Hamline up by one at 62-61. The two teams then traded baskets before a three by Brown proved to be the final lead change of the afternoon, putting the Pipers on top 67-65.
The Pipers did not turn the ball over once in the final five minutes of the game, going 4-for-6 from the field and 6-for-6 at the charity stripe. A layup by Kesley Florian (Sr., Roseville, Minn.) with :02 seconds on the clock brought the score to a final.
Florian scored 14 points in the second half, going 5-for-6 from the floor and 3-for-4 at the line. She finished with a team-high 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and a 5-for-6 day at the stripe.
Hamline’s Je’Naya Brown led the Pipers with 14 points in the second half, while her teammate Steph Pilgrim added 13. Pilgrim scored a game-high 23 points after going 9-for-24 from the floor and 5-for-13 from beyond the arc. Brown finished with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and Cassidy Vogt added 11 after making 3-of-4 threes.
Finishing behind Florian in scoring for Gustavus was Abby Rothenbuehler and Karina Schroeder (Fy., Lake Crystal, Minn.). Rothenbuehler brought down seven rebounds and scored 15 points on an efficient 7-for-8 day from the floor, while Schroeder recorded a double-double after scoring 15 points (6-10) and hauling down 10 boards. Julia Dysthe (Jr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) rounded out the squad’s top scorers with 11 points (4-12).
In the game, Gustavus shot 50-percent (31-62) from the field, 55.6-percent (5-9) from three-point range, and 68.8-percent (11-16) at the stripe. Hamline shot 43.5-percent (27-62) from the floor, 45.2-percent (14-31) from three, and 85.7-percent (12-14) at the line.
Gustavus had the rebounding edge 41-28, yet lost the turnover battle 17-14.
The Gustavus women’s basketball team looks to get back on track Monday, Feb. 4 when hosts Macalester College at 7:30 p.m. on Gus Young Court.