Women’s Basketball Holds Off Bethel Comeback, Wins 71-63

Posted on December 9th, 2015 by

First-year Taylor Anderson was one of several bench players who helped make up for starters in foul trouble in Wednesday's win. (photo courtesy of AJ Dahm, SPX Sports)

Gustavus 71, Bethel 63 (Box) | Photo Gallery

ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus College women’s basketball team was able to hold off a late run from Bethel University on Wednesday and held on for a 71-63 victory at Gus Young Court. Up 59-42 with 9:36 remaining, the Gusties found their lead at just five only four minutes later (60-55), but key free-throw shooting down the stretch allowed them to improve their conference record to 2-1 and overall record to 5-2.

“We feel good about the win.,” said Coach Laurie Kelly. “We were great on the glass, especially the offensive end, and forced a lot of turnovers. Bethel is a solid program with a great team that’s going to get stronger once they get healthier, so we feel fortunate to have played them when we did and at home. Our youth got some key experience, we learned a lot tonight, and feel great about coming away with a win over a quality opponent like this.”

The Gusties jumped out of the gates quickly, as Lindsey Johnson (Sr., Edina Minn.) opened the game with two contested made jumpers to help her team to an early 10-2 lead. The Royals would quickly bring that lead to just 10-7, but Mikayla Miller (So., Goodhue, Minn.) hit back-to-back three-pointers to bring the advantage back to nine, and hit another with time expiring in the first quarter to give the Gusties a 19-11 lead after 10 minutes. Unfortunately for the home squad, Miller and Miranda Rice (So., Forest Lake, Minn.) each accumulated two fouls in the first quarter, which forced them to sit for almost the entire second.

First-year Brooke Lemke chipped in a career high six points and played a key role off the bench for the Gusties on Wednesday.

First-year Brooke Lemke chipped in a career high six points and played a key role off the bench for the Gusties on Wednesday.

The second quarter featured the efforts of Kelsey Carpenter (Jr., St. Peter, Minn.), Brooke Lemke (Fy., Delano, Minn.), and Kate Theisse (So., Welcome, Minn.), who scored 11 of the team’s 16 points.

“We had some players get into foul trouble again, including Mikayla, Miranda, and Hannah, so we really relied on players that haven’t seen a lot of minutes so far this year,” said Kelly. “We gave Kate Theisse some action tonight because of the effort she continues to show in practice, and she really came through for us with a great performance. Overall, our bench was great for us and is one of our strengths.”

In the third quarter, the Gusties continued to build their lead, and led by as many as 19 points. Gustavus utilized Rice’s presence in the post, and the second-year forward tallied five third quarter points to help her squad take a 15 point lead into the final ten minutes of the game.

A layup by Carpenter to begin the fourth brought the Gustie lead to 17, however it was then that the Royals went on their run, and with 5:36 to play in the game, only trailed Gustavus 60-55.

“Our youth continues to show and you could see that when our big lead began to crumble,” said Kelly. “We stopped moving on offense and really just need to keep learning … tonight was a great opportunity for our team to do that. Our younger players from the bench were going against a very veteran team and they stepped up and played well. However, I think they began to get a little nervous and started playing not to lose rather than to win, which caused them to play hesitant and forget what got them the lead in the first place. We also had a few of our better shooters that weren’t able to convert like they usually do, but overall, I was happy with how we handled the adversity.”

Hannah Howard (Jr., St. Paul, Minn.) and Johnson then each notched a pair of free-throws on consecutive possessions to bring the lead back to nine, and from that point, the Gustie lead never dipped below six. Despite only playing 16 minutes, Miller led the Gusties in scoring for the sixth time in seven games, thanks in large part to her three first quarter three-pointers. Three others also reached double-digits for the Black and Gold, including Rice, Howard, and Johnson, who tallied 12, 11, and 11, respectively. Carpenter also chipped in eight, while Lemke had a career-high six in 23 minutes of action.

Gustavus out-rebounded Bethel 44-36, and was once again strong on the offensive boards, including Howard grabbing five of her six rebounds on the offensive side. The Gusties also only committed 12 turnovers after coming into the game averaging 19.5.

Gustavus competes next on Friday when it hits the road to take on conference foe Macalester College. Tipoff is set for 5:45 p.m. at Alumni Gymnasium in St. Paul, Minnesota.

 

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