Late Overtime Surge Propels Women’s Basketball To 65-57 Win Over UW-River Falls

Posted on December 31st, 2014 by

Mikayla Miller's three-pointer at the end of regulation set up an eight point overtime victory for the Gustavus women's basketball team.

Mikayla Miller’s three-pointer at the end of regulation set up an eight point overtime victory for the Gustavus women’s basketball team.

River Falls, Wis. – The Gustavus Adolphus women’s basketball team capped 2014 with a 65-57 overtime victory over UW-River Falls on Tuesday night at the Karges Center. Thanks a Mikayla Miller (Fy., Goodhue, Minn.) game-tying three-pointer with :29 seconds remaining in regulation, the Gusties were able to force overtime with the score tied 51-51. With the game knotted at 57-57 with less than two minutes on the clock in the overtime session, Gustavus took control and finished the game on an 8-0 scoring-run en route to its fourth straight victory.

“It was one of those grind-it-out wins,” said Head Coach Laurie Kelly. “It was important for us to get some confidence going into conference play and we did that with this win. With a young team such as this, confidence is huge. I don’t think we played our best basketball, but we handled pressure situations well on the road and did what was needed to gut out a win.”

Despite taking a 57-53 advantage with 3:18 to go in overtime, UW-River Falls battled back to tie the game at 57-57 with 2:05 on the clock. From that point until the clock struck 0:00, Gustavus’s defense shut out the Falcons, not allowing a single field goal or free throw and forcing two turnovers.

“The key take away from tonight is that we did the things needed down the stretch to pull out a win,” Kelly commented about her team’s overtime performance. “The final two minutes of overtime was the difference. We made defensive stops, took care of the ball, got good offensive looks, and knocked down our free throws.”

Gustavus’s overtime performance was a much-improved segment compared to its first half showing. Although the Gusties trailed by just five points (33-28) at the break, they also committed 14 turnovers and were losing the battle on the glass 16-10.

“We never led in the first half and didn’t play well,” said Kelly about the start of the game. “They were the aggressor and seemed to get ever rebound and every loose ball. Unforced turnovers hurt us and our shot selection was poor.  We were fortunate to be down only five at the half, and that’s what team used as motivation going into the second half.”

The Gusties turned the momentum in the opening five minutes of the second half and eventually took a 37-35 lead thanks to a pair of three throws by Maddie Ehrich (Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn.). Erich was Gustavus’s second leading scorer in the game, going 4-for-6 from the field and hitting 7-of-9 free throws for 15 points.

Gustavus pushed its lead to seven points (43-36) with 9:49 remaining.  It was at that point that UW-River Falls began to make its comeback. The Falcons chipped away over the next five minutes and eventually took the advantage up 47-46 with 5:03 left in regulation. After a layup by Ali Clark put the home team up 51-48 with 2:52 remaining, the two teams played scoreless basketball before Miller’s equalizing three-pointer with :29 seconds on the clock.

“Although we didn’t play well in the first half, we showed a lot of perseverance by battling back and gradually taking the lead in the second half,” Kelly stated. “Down the stretch not only did we get the stops needed, but we hit the big shot when it mattered most. We ran a play to get Miller an open look and she nailed it.”

Miller led all scorers with 18 points after going 7-for-12 from the floor, 1-for-3 from three, and 3-for-8 at the line. She nearly posted a double-double with nine rebounds and nine steals.

The Black and Gold finished the game 50-percent (24-48) from the floor, 50-percent (3-6) from three, and 56-percent (14-25) at the line. Although the Gusties were outrebounded 42-to-29, they managed to capitalize on the Falcons’ 30 turnovers with 34 points. UW-River Falls scored 12 points off Gustavus’s 23 turnovers.

The Falcons shot 39.6-percent (21-53) from the field, 30.8-percent (4-13) from three, and 40.7-percent (11-27) at the stripe. They were led in scoring by Richell Mehus who dropped 11 points and brought down seven rebounds.

“We went into this game knowing that we had to be road warriors during this stretch of our schedule,” concluded Kelly. “After tonight’s game, our next three games are on the road against conference opponents. This was our last non-conference test of the season and that created a great opportunity for us to simulate MIAC opposition on the road. This team proved that it could handle the pressure of an overtime challenge and that alone give us a lift heading into the second half of our season.”

The Gustavus women’s basketball team’s MIAC schedule will resume on Saturday, Jan. 3 with a 1:00 p.m. road game against St. Olaf College.

Box Score


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