Women’s Basketball Victorious In Home Opener, Defeats UW-Stout 72-67 Posted on November 20th, 2015 by

Mikayla Miller led Gustavus with 23 points in Friday's win. (Photo courtesy of Roisen Granlund '17)

Gustavus 72, UW-Stout 67 (Box)

ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus College women’s basketball team put together another strong second half showing and earned a 72-67 victory over the University of Wisconsin-Stout on Friday evening at Gus Young Court. The win pushes the Gusties to 2-0 overall, while the Blue Devils fall to 0-2 overall.

“We knew tonight would be a tough, physical game,” said Coach Laurie Kelly. “I thought one of the keys going into tonight would be controlling the tempo. They like to play full-court and fast, and I thought that’s what the entire first half was tonight. I think we lacked composure at times, but when you look out on the court and see three first-years, that’s to be expected. Our youth definitely showed at times, especially with our unforced turnovers. However, defensively, we played pretty well, which made up for us not having a great shooting night.”

Gustavus was able to jump out to an early 11-4 lead after four minutes of play thanks in large part to two three-pointers from sophomore guard (Mikayla Miller (Goodhue, Minn.) during that stretch. However, UW-Stout stormed back to tie the game at 11-11, and eventually took a two point, 20-18 lead into the second quarter. There, neither team was able to put many points on the scoreboard, as the Gusties managed just 11 second quarter points, compared to the Blue Devil’s seven. Gustavus played much of the first half without two of its starters – Miranda Rice (So., Forest Lake, Minn.) and Justine Lee (Fy., Dawson, Minn.) – who exited the game early due to two fouls apiece within the first 5:30 of the game.

“When it comes to fouls, we just need to keep learning,” said Kelly. “We had a few players commit silly fouls tonight and, while their hustle was fantastic, they just need to learn to let some of those plays go, so they’re not forced to sit for long periods at a time. However, we are deeper this year … we played 13 players in the first half and I think our depth is going to help us a lot this season. When someone is struggling, or we need more ball-handling or defense, it’s nice to be able to look down the bench and see so many individuals that can help us out.”

Gustavus came out of the gates hot to begin the second half, scoring on six of its first seven possessions to build a 41-35 advantage midway through the third quarter. Rice sparked Gustavus with eight points in the third after sitting for much of the first half due to the aforementioned early fouls, and Lindsey Johnson (Sr., Edina, Minn.) capped the quarter with a buzzer-beating three pointer from nearly five feet outside the three-point line to help the Gusties head into the third quarter with a 57-44 lead.

Gustavus was able to maintain at least an eight-point lead for the entire fourth quarter until the clock showed 22 seconds remaining in the game. In those final 22 seconds, UW-Stout was able to carve the Gustie lead to five, but four free-throws from Miller and Lee allowed the Gusties to keep their lead and secure the victory.

“Similar to our last game, we had a better second half again,” said Kelly. “I’m not sure if it’s nerves or us settling in a little bit, but we started to shoot better, got a lead, and started to play with more confidence. That being said, I would have liked to see us close the game out better. It seems like we were playing not to lose rather than to win and again, that may have something to do with our youth. We learned a lot about ourselves and I saw some great things that we did, along with some things we need to continue working on. We feel fortunate to have learned from those mistakes that we made in the late game situations and still come away with the victory.”

Turnovers plagued each team, as UW-Stout tallied 27, compared to Gustavus’s 24. The Gusties shot 40.9 percent from the field, and were led by Miller’s 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting. She also notched five rebounds, five steals, and four assists. Meanwhile, Johnson tallied 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Rice tallied a double-double, with nearly all of her 13 points and 10 rebounds coming in the second half.

“Each step we take, we’re going to be challenged more,” said Kelly. “UW-River Falls is a talented team with some great inside play and some outstanding defenders. They’re going to be a challenge for us and we’re going to need to play better to continue winning. Tomorrow, we need to control tempo, continue to do well on the glass, and cut down on the unforced turnovers. Getting the win is nice and we just need to keep finding ways to get better every day.”

The Gusties will wrap up their Gustavus Classic schedule with a 3 p.m. contest against UW-River Falls tomorrow on Gus Young Court.


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