St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus women’s basketball team made the plays down the stretch to stay ahead and ultimately defeat Carleton by the score of 62-58 on Wednesday night at Gus Young Court. The Gustavus women’s basketball team heads into its regular season finale against Concordia with a record of 15-9 overall and 14-7 in the MIAC, while Carleton drops to 6-18 overall, and 6-15 in the MIAC with the loss.
“We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we’d like and missed a lot of easy lay-ins tonight. We got the looks we wanted but weren’t able to convert on them, especially in the second half. That’s tough on a team mentally, but we did the things we needed to tonight to pull out a victory,” said Head Coach Laurie Kelly.
“With Steph Comer being out we were short on our bench, but a lot of players stepped up to fill that hole and that’s a positive looking forward. It’s a good win for this group of seniors in their last game on Gus Young Court.”
With the score tied at 8-8 with 15:41 left in the opening half, Gustavus outscored the Knights 14-2 over the next seven minutes to grab a 22-10 lead on a Karina Schroeder (Fy., Lake Crystal, Minn.) layup to end the run. Schroeder scored 10 of Gustavus’ first 20 points, going 5-for-6 from the field for 12 first half points.
After Carleton cut the lead to seven points (24-17) on a Gabbi Stienstra three-pointer at the 5:04 mark, Gustavus outscored the Knight’s 12-4 over the remaining minutes to take a 36-21 lead into the break.
Gustavus shot 46.2-percent from the field compared to Carleton’s 34.6-percent in the first half.
The Gusties opened the second half with an Abby Rothenbuehler (Sr., North Mankato, Minn.) jumper to take their largest lead of the game at 38-21. The Black and Gold held a comfortable double-digit advantage for four minutes until Carleton brought the score within nine points on two occasions at the 13:38 (42-33) and 12:56 (44-35) marks.
After Gustavus built its margin back up to 15 (52-37) by 9:29, Carleton began to chip away and knock down shots. The Knights first whittled the lead to 55-45 with 5:53 left to play, then cut the lead to 60-56 with 1:48 on the clock.
With offensive possession down four points with less than :40 seconds to play, Carleton had a chance to cut the lead even further. Rothenbuehler jumped in front of a Skylar Tsutsui cross-court pass with :16 seconds left to force a turnover and give Gustavus back the ball.
After Rachelle Blaschko (Jr., Henderson, Minn.) missed the open end of 1-and-1 free throw opportunity, Jenny Ramey delivered a layup on the other end to cut the lead to 60-58 with :08 seconds remaining. With no timeouts left, Gustavus got the inbounds pass to Julia Dysthe (Jr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) who went to the other end and knocked down both free throws, bringing the game to a final at 62-58.
“Give credit to Carleton who just kept battling back and hanging around. Tsutsui was terrific all game long and they hit some big shots when it mattered,” said Kelly. “We made the plays we needed to make down the stretch. Abby Rothenbuehler came up with a big steal with under :20 seconds to play, and we got the ball into our best free throw shooter’s hands on the final possession. It was a good way to finish tonight’s game.”
Carleton was hot in the second half, shooing 51.7-percent from the field. Tsutsui led the charge with 18 points in the second half after going 7-for-11 from the field and 3-for-6 from three-point range. She led all scorers in the game with 21 points on 8-for-17 shooting from the floor and 4-for-8 shooting from three.
Gustavus finished 23-for-57 (40.4%) from the field, 3-for-11 from three (27.3%), and 13-for-15 (86.7%) at the line. Carleton ended up 24-for-55 (43.6%) from the field, 7-for-21 (33.3%) from beyond the arc, and 3-for-4 (75%) at the charity stripe.
Karina Schroeder added just two points in the second half but finished with a team-high 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Rothenbuehler filled out the scoresheet with a double-double, scoring 12 points after going 3-for-10 from the floor and 5-for-5 at the line and bringing down 10 rebounds. Kelsey Florian (Sr., Roseville, Minn.) went 5-for-11 for 13 points, and Julia Dysthe went 3-for-9 for 10.
The Gusties won the battle on the glass by a 38-28 margin and committed three less turnovers (16-19).
The Gustavus women’s basketball team will cap the 2012-13 regular season with a trip to Moorhead, Minn. to take on Concordia on Saturday, Feb. 16. Game time against the current MIAC leader is set for 1:00 p.m.
“This is a great opportunity,” commented Kelly about the upcoming game against the Cobbers. “Concordia has at least a share of the MIAC title in its hands and this game Saturday means a lot to them with a chance to wing the league outright. The game will have a good atmosphere and it’s a chance to play spoiler to a certain extent. More than that, it’s a chance to acclimate yourself to going on the road an playing in a must-win game.”