St. Paul – The Gustavus Adolphus women’s basketball team earned its fourth straight victory with a 71-49 win over Macalester College on Wednesday night at the Leonard Center. Using a balanced scoring attack that featured four players in double-figures, Gustavus jumped out to an early lead and was able to withstand a late second half Macalester push. Gustavus improves to 12-8 overall and 9-8 in the MIAC with the win, while Macalester drops to 3-17 overall and 2-15 in the MIAC.
“With the exception of eight minutes in the second half, I thought we played quality basketball,” said Head Coach Laurie Kelly. “We were able to dominate on the glass, limit our turnovers, and get balanced scoring. This was a must-win on the road and we did the things we needed to do to win this game.”
The Gusties jumped out to a 10-2 advantage in the opening five minutes of the game. With a 12-7 lead with 13:26 remaining in the half, Gustavus used a 16-4 scoring run to go up 28-11 with 5:26 on the clock. Gustavus led by as many as 19 points on three occasions before the Scots were able to cut the gap to 16 points (40-24) at the halftime break.
Gustavus shot 50-percent from the field in the opening half and was led in scoring by Karina Schroeder (So., Lake Crystal, Minn.) and Julia Dysthe (Sr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) who scored 13 and 11 points, respectively. The Gustie defense limited the Scots to just 30.8-percent shooting in the half.
“The first half was solid – we held them to 24 points and were able to shoot the ball very well. Karina Schroeder and Julia Dysthe were both big for us on the offensive end,” Kelly said.
In the second half, Gustavus pushed its lead to 18 points (46-28) by the 16:13 mark. From that point on, Macalester began to slowly chip away at the lead. Following a pair of Britta Rinke (Sr., Waconia, Minn.) free throws that put Gustavus up 57-45 at the halfway point of the frame, Macalester cut the lead to 10 (57-47) two minutes later at 7:41.
Determined to not suffer the same fate as the first meeting of the season between the two squads, Gustavus buckled down on defense and didn’t let Macalester bring the margin to any closer than 10 for the remaining minutes of the game. The Gusties allowed the Scots just one field goal in the final seven minutes and used the resulting 14-2 run to cruise to the 22-point victory. Nearly six minutes of clock ticked away between Macalester’s final two field goals of the contest.
“We got off to a slow start and had some lapses defensively that allowed Macalester to cut the lead to 10 with seven minutes left in the game,” Kelly said. “Although they controlled much of the opening portion of the second half, we came out of a timeout at the seven minute mark charged up – particularly on the defensive end.”
Karina Schroeder added four second half points to finish with a team-high 17. She also posted a double-double with 11 rebounds (7 defensive) and went 7-for-15 from the field and 3-for-5 at the free throw line.
Julia Dysthe finished next in line with 15 points after going 5-for-12 from the floor, 1-for-4 from three-point range, and 4-for-5 at the line. Britta Rinke brought down seven boards, went 4-of-9 from the field, and hit all four of her free throw attempts for 12 points. Hannah Howard (Fy., St. Paul, Minn.) added 10 points off the bench after going 1-for-4 from the floor and 8-for-10 at the line. Rachelle Blascko (Sr., Henderson, Minn.) filled out the scoresheet with eight points (4-6 FG), six rebounds, and six assists.
Macalester’s Carmen Whitehead led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field, 3-for-4 from three, and 4-of-5 at the line.
Gustavus went 24-for-53 (45.3%) from the field, 1-for-9 (11.1%) from three, and 22-for-29 (75.9%) at the charity stripe. Macalester ended up 18-for-55 (32.7%) from the field, 6-for-15 (40%) from three, and 7-for-9 (77.8%) at the line.
“We did an outstanding job getting to the line,” Kelly said about her team’s free throw performance. “We went to the line 29 times compared to their nine times and that was a huge difference in this game. We were aggressive in getting to the basket and they were settling for jump shots.”
The Gusties won the turnover battle 10-16 and controlled the glass 38-29.
“This team believes it is a contender and belongs in the conference tournament,” concluded Kelly. “We are now starting to see everyone play with a great deal of pride and much more confidence. Carleton will be a tough opponent on Saturday and we can’t take any team lightly at this point. We’ll have a well-earned day off tomorrow and Friday we’ll start preparing for the Knights.”
The Gustavus women’s basketball team will cap its three-game road-stand on Saturday, Feb. 8 with a 1:00 p.m. game against Carleton College.