St. Peter, Minn. – Sophomore Karina Schroeder (Lake Crystal, Minn.) scored a season-high 26 points and brought down 12 rebounds to lead the Gustavus Adolphus women’s basketball team to a 77-67 victory over St. Catherine University. The Gusties jumped out to a 10-point halftime lead and never looked back, shooting over 50-percent from the field as a team for the first time in seven games. Gustavus gets back to .500 with the win at 7-7 overall and 4-7 in the MIAC. St. Catherine drops to 3-10 overall and 2-8 in the MIAC with the loss.
“It’s good to get a win because at this point it’s do or die,” said Head Coach Laurie Kelly following the game. “We know where we sit and we know what we need to do. Last year we started out hot but didn’t finish the way we wanted. This year I’m hoping for the opposite and that we can start to get on a role and finish strong.”
Just over five minutes into the game, a jumper by Britta Rinke (Sr., Waconia, Minn.) sparked an 11-2 scoring-run that ended with Gustavus on top 23-13 with 10:47 remaining in the half. The Gusties continued to add to their lead over the next six minutes and were up by as many as 17 points (37-20) by the 4:36 mark. St. Kate’s grabbed some momentum back heading into halftime by using a 9-2 run to cut the lead to 39-29 at the break.
Karina Schroeder went to work on the blocks early, scoring 14 points in the opening half after going a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Schroeder didn’t let up in the second half either, going 4-for-7 from the floor and 4-for-4 at the line for 12 points. Karina’s 26 points tops her previous season-best of 23 points scored against Augsburg back on Dec. 21. With 12 boards (6 defensive), she now has five double-doubles on the year.
“Karina was big for us tonight,” Kelly said about her sophomore post. “They didn’t really have anyone who could handle her inside and we did a good job getting her touches. One of our goals coming into this game was to establish an inside presence and I thought Karina did that from the start.”
The Gusties came out firing on all cylinders to start the second half. After a 13-2 run in the opening five minutes of the frame, Gustavus found itself up 52-31. The host held on to the comfortable double-digit advantage and eventfully led by as many as 23 points (61-38) with 10:01 left to play.
Three-pointers kept St. Catherine in the game and with 4:18 on the clock, the Wildcats began a 12-0 run that brought the score to within single digits at 71-62 with 1:06 left. St. Catherine went 9-of-13 from three-point range in the second half.
“We didn’t defend to the best of our ability and we let them claw their way back with three pointers,” Kelly said about the second half. “You have to give St. Kate’s a lot of credit because they continued to battle back and knock down shots from behind the arc.”
Gustavus didn’t allow the Wildcats to come any closer nine and put an end to the run with a Schroeder layup and a pair of Julia Dysthe (Sr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) free throws on consecutive possessions inside the final minute.
“For 30 minutes we played good basketball. The five minutes at the end of each half are where we need to start getting better,” said Kelly. “We have to buckle down at that point and start playing to win the game instead of playing to not lose.”
Gustavus finished the game 30-for-57 (52.6%) from the field, 4-for-17 (23.5%) from three, and 13-for-18 (72.2%) at the line. St. Catherine went 26-for-48 (54.2%) from the field, 12-for-22 (54.5%) from three, and 3-for-10 (30%) at the line.
To go along with Schroeder’s 26 points, both Lindsey Johnson (So., Edina, Minn.) and Julia Dysthe scored 11. Johnson went 4-for-6 from the floor, hit one three, and both her free throws. Dysthe was 4-for-15 from the floor and matched her season-best total with six assists.
The Gusties controlled the glass 34-22 and won the turnover battle 12-21.
Abby Torgerson had the hot hand for the Wildcats, going 4-for-4 from three and 8-for-10 from the field for a team-high 20 points.
“We have to try and rest and keep our legs under us as we begin this three game week,” Kelly said about Gustavus’s upcoming schedule. “We went nine deep tonight and got good minutes from our bench, which will help with our legs down the stretch. Staying focused and being both mentally and physically sharp as we head on the road for a pair of two very big games at Hamline and Concordia will be crucial.”
The Gustavus women’s basketball team will be back on the hardwood Wednesday, Jan. 22 when it travels to St. Paul to face the Pipers at 7:30 p.m.