Moorhead, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus women’s basketball team suffered its first overtime loss of the season in a hard-fought 73-71 defeat at the hands of Concordia College on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Auditorium.
Gustavus closed a ten point gap in the second half and sent the game to overtime after going on a 5-0 scoring-run in the remaining 1:11 of regulation. After Hannah Howard (Fy., St. Paul, Minn.) put Gustavus up 71-69 with a free throw with 1:36 left in overtime, Concordia’s Olivia Johnson tied the game at 71-71 with :45 seconds left on the clock. Rachelle Blaschko (Sr., Henderson, Minn.) missed a three-pointer on the ensuing possession, and Cobber Erika Jossart converted a pair of would-be game-winning free throws with five seconds left.
Gustavus drops to 8-8 overall and 5-8 in the MIAC with the loss, while Concordia improves to 13-3 overall and 11-2 in the MIAC with the win.
“I’m very proud of the way we played,” said Head Coach Laurie Kelly. “It was a real test of our character to keep stepping up, getting stops on defense, and believing we could battle back into the game. Little-by-little, we kept plugging away and I commend our team’s from start to finish.”
The Gusties got out to a slow start and scored just seven points in the opening ten minutes of the game. Concordia held on to a confortable lead for the remaining minutes of the half and led 32-22 at the break.
Gustavus shot just 26.3-percent from the field in the first half. Both teams had their share of turnovers as Gustavus had 13 and Concordia recorded 12.
The Gusties didn’t lie down and would not go away quietly in the second half. In the opening 5:12, Gustavus outscored the Cobbers 17-7 to tie the game at 39-39.
After trading points for eight minutes, the Cobbers used a 9-0 run to go up 56-47 with 5:41 left in the game.
Once again, Gustavus refused to lie down and began chipping away at the lead – cutting the margin to three points (58-55) with 2:56 on the clock. Concordia pushed back and took a five point advantage up 63-58 with 1:11 left. Olivia Johnson’s jumper that put Concordia up five turned out to be the team’s final points of regulation. Blaschko knocked down two free throws to cut the lead to 63-60, and Lindsey Johnson (So., Edina, Minn.) hit a jumper to bring Gustavus within one at 63-62. With three seconds on the clock, Britta Rinke (Sr., Waconia, Minn.) was fouled and was sent to the line with a chance to win the game. Rinke made one of two free tosses, which sent game overtime.
“Coming out in the second half, we knew we could fix the mistakes we made in the first and that this could be a different game,” Kelly said. “We began to make plays and when Concordia made runs, we answered back. Even when we were down nine with less than ten minutes to go, the team continued to fight.”
Gustavus shot a much-improved 54-percent from the field in the second half and was led in scoring by Johnson and Rinke who scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, on 4-of-6 shooting performances.
In the overtime session, Concordia went 2-for-7 from the field, 0-for-1 from three-point range, and 6-for-6 at the line. Gustavus went 3-or-9 from the field, 1-for-3 from three, and 1-for-4 at the line.
“Even in overtime, we went basket for basket and were even able to take the lead,” commented Kelly about her team’s performance in overtime. “Unfortunately for us, free throws probably cost us the game. You have to give credit to Concordia, they knocked down the shots when they needed to and found a way to win the game.”
Four of Gustavus’s five starters finished in double-figures. Lindsey Johnson led the way with a season-high 18 points after going 6-for-11 from the field, knocking down her only three-point try, and going 5-for-6 at the line. Hannah Howard finished next in line with her best scoring performance of the year with 16 points. She went 4-for-8 from the floor, 2-for-2 from three, and 6-for-8 at the line. Britta Rinke added 15 points on two three-pointers and 5-of-11 shooting from the field, and Karina Schroeder (So., Lake Crystal, Minn.) rounded out the squad’s top scorers with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
As a team, Gustavus shot 40.4-percent (21-52) from the field, 60-percent (6-10) from three, and 65.7-percent (23-35) from the charity stripe.
Concordia’s starting five all ended up in double-digits. The Cobbers shot 38.3-percent (23-60) from the field, 33.3-percent (7-21) from three, and 69-percent (20-29) at the line.
“Although we couldn’t pull this one out in the end, we have quite a lot to build on as we head into the end of January next week,” Kelly said about her team’s state heading into next week. “We learned a lot about ourselves in this game and we look forward to being back at home against Augsburg on Wednesday.”
Gustavus will close out the month of January with game against Augsburg on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in St. Peter.