Hot Second Half Propels Women’s Basketball To Season Opening 79-59 Win Over Martin Luther

Posted on November 17th, 2015 by

Miranda Rice played a key role in the Gusties' second half comeback and finished the game with nine points and six rebounds.

Miranda Rice played a key role in the Gusties’ second half comeback and finished the game with nine points and six rebounds.

Gustavus 79, Martin Luther 59 (Box)

NEW ULM, Minn. – Trailing 36-35 at halftime, the Gustavus Adolphus College women’s basketball team was able to make adjustments at halftime and take the second half by storm, eventually coming away with a 79-59 season opening victory at Martin Luther College on Monday evening. The win marks the third consecutive season the Gusties have won their season opener, and allows the team to head into its Friday home opener at 1-0 overall.

“It feels great to get a win and I thought it was a great start to our season,” said Coach Laurie Kelly. “With two first-years and two sophomores in our lineup, we’re obviously young and it took us that first half to get us going defensively. Overall, we did a nice job on defense in the second half, and I thought that was the difference in the game. We only gave up 27 percent from the field and held their best shooter to just five points. We also got some steals that led to easy put-backs and established an inside game, which was a key difference between the first and second halves.”

The Gusties took an 11-3 lead just over four minutes into the first half, but the Knights made a 14-5 run over the next six minutes to tie the score at 17-17 with 10:48 to play in the first. Gustavus then went on an 8-0 run of its own over the next two minutes, but the Knights came back again and closed the half on a 19-10 run to take the one point lead into halftime.

The second half proved to be a different story, as the Gusties went on a 23-10 run over the first 10 minutes of the half, and limited the Knights to 26.9 percent shooting overall, compared to 50 percent in the first. The Gusties also received key performances from several individuals, which Kelly credited to the Black and Gold’s big turnaround.

Miranda Rice (So., Forest Lake, Minn.) was really big for us in the second half … after only playing four minutes in the first half, she stepped up big for us on the inside,” said Kelly. “Justine Lee (Fy., Dawson, Minn.) played a really nice defensive game, which included nine steals and also had double digit points, so it was nice to see her have a solid opener. Mikayla Miller (So., Goodhue, Minn.) had a really nice second half as well, and it was great to see her get her offense flowing after coming back from an injury that had her out for a while.”

Miller led the Gusties on the evening with 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting and also tallied four rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Lee was next, scoring 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting and added nine steals and four rebounds, and Rice notched nine points and six rebounds. Senior Lindsey Johnson (Edina, Minn.) also had a nice stat line, scoring 10 points, grabbing six boards, and blocking two shots. Overall, the Gusties shot 49.2 percent from the field and had 20 steals to highlight their night in New Ulm.

“It’s always tough to go on the road and get a win, so it’s a good feeling to open the season on a high note, especially in someone else’s gym,” concluded Kelly. “We have some things we need to work out before Friday’s home opener, especially free throw percentage, but I’m excited to have this one under our belt and to have the chance to get a few days to practice before our next one.”

Gustavus will return to game action on Friday when it welcomes UW-Stout to Gus Young Court for its home opener. Tipoff is set for 6 pm.

 

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