Women’s Basketball Can’t Recover From Slow Start, Falls 62-49 To St. Thomas

Posted on January 28th, 2015 by

Miranda Rice makes a move in the pain on Wednesday night in Gustavus's 62-49 loss to St. Thomas.

St. Peter, Minn. – Head Coach Laurie Kelly said after Wednesday night’s game against No. 3 St. Thomas that she wished her team could have hit the restart button after 10 minutes. With 4:51 remaining in the opening half, Gustavus had made just one field goal and trailed 30-6. The slow start turned out to be the difference as the Tommies went on to a 62-49 win at Gus Young Court.

“A key positive to take away from this game is that despite being in a big hole early, we didn’t lay down,” Kelly said. “When we played at their place earlier in the season, we did lay down and were never really in the game. Tonight came down to the first 10 minutes. Although we started out flat, we battled and held our own for the remaining minutes of the game. St. Thomas played a high intensity, fast-paced game right out of the gate and we weren’t ready to match it.”

With the loss, Gustavus drops to 13-4 overall and 7-4 in the MIAC. St. Thomas improves its unblemished record to 18-0 overall and 11-0 in the MIAC.

Even though the Gusties trailed by 24 points (32-8) with 4:30 left in the first half, they gradually began to gain offensive rhythm and slowly chipped away at the lead.   By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, Gustavus had cut the lead to 13 points (36-23) thanks to a 15-4 scoring-run to close out the half.

Gustavus played a much-improved second half – shooting 38.2-percent compared to 30-percent from the field and turning the ball over just three times compared to 15 – yet couldn’t make up the deficit caused by the slow start.

Mikayla Miller led Gustavus in scoring with 15 points - nine of which were in the second half.

Mikayla Miller led Gustavus in scoring with 15 points – nine of which came in the second half.

“We were never able to get that big stop or come away with points on a key possession in the second half,” stated Kelly. “St. Thomas always had an answer and because of that we weren’t able to make up the difference.”

Gustavus cut the lead to 11 points (40-29) on a three-pointer by Cara Christensen (So., North Mankato, Minn.) with 15:35 on the clock, but could not bring the score any closer for the rest of the contest.

Gustavus finished 34.2-percent (12-38) from the field, 27.5-percent (3-8) from three-point range, and 74.1-percent (20-27) at the free throw line.

“Free throw shooting was an advantage for us tonight and I’m happy we were able to take advantage of our opportunities at the line,” commented Kelly. “Our ability to get to the line broke up the flow of the game and their rhythm, and allowed us to sub, rest our players, and get our defense set.”

Mikayla Miller (Fy., Goodhue, Minn.) led the way in scoring with 15 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the field, 2-of-5 from three, and 3-of-4 at the line. Behind Miller was Hannah Howard (So., St. Paul, Minn.), Maddie Ehrich (Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn.), and Cara Christensen who all finished with nine points. Howard went 1-for-8 from the floor, Ehrich went 2-for-3, and Christensen went 3-for-4.

St. Thomas ended up 44.4-percent (20-45) from the field, 35.5-percent (6-17) from three, and 80-percent (16-20) at the line.

Katie Stone led all scorers with 16 points (5-13 FG, 3-9 3PT), and Jenna Dockter finished next on the team with 14 (4-9 FG).

The turnover battle ended up 18-to-18, while St. Thomas had the advantage on the glass 31-21 thanks in large part to a 13-rebound performance by Maggie Weiers.

“They were the better team but we can walk away from the game with our heads held high knowing that we didn’t give up the fight and played with the third-ranked team in the country for the final 25 minutes,” concluded Kelly.  “We simply can’t afford to put ourselves in hole like that, especially against a veteran team whose seniors led the way.  The intensity has to be greater and the sense of urgency has to begin sooner on Saturday at Hamline.”

The Gustavus women’s basketball team will head back on the road Saturday, Jan. 31 when it travels to St. Paul for a 1:00 p.m. game against Hamline University at Hutton Arena.

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