Women’s Basketball Concludes Season With Hard Fought 78-70 Loss To Saint Mary’s

Posted on February 25th, 2016 by

Miranda Rice led Gustavus with 21 points and nine rebounds on Thursday.

Saint Mary’s 78, Gustavus 70 (Box)

WINONA, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus College women’s basketball team saw its 2015-16 season come to a close on Thursday, as it fell to No. 2 seed Saint Mary’s University in the MIAC Playoff Semifinals by a final score of 78-70. It was a game of runs that featured six ties and close play throughout, but the Cardinals were able to pull away down the stretch to advance to Saturday’s playoff final. The Gusties finish their season with an overall record of 20-7.

“Credit has to be given to Saint Mary’s,” said Coach Laurie Kelly. “They came out and made some big shots early to take that 8-0 lead, made some big shots down the stretch, and played a great game overall. However, once we got settled back down, we were able to play better defense, especially in the second quarter, which allowed us to get back into it.”

Saint Mary’s got off to a hot start, taking leads of 8-0 and 13-2 early thanks in large part to going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in the first 2:40 of play. But a three-pointer from Brooke Lemke (Fy., Delano, Minn.) that banked in to beat the shot clock completed an 11-2 run to bring the Gusties back within four at 15-11.

The Cardinals closed the first quarter on an 11-4 run to bring their lead back to nine at 26-15, but Gustavus went on a 16-3 run to begin the second quarter and retied the game for the first time since the beginning of the game at 29-29 with 3:29 remaining in the half. The two squads would go back and forth in the final minutes before halftime, and Saint Mary’s eventually went into the break up 33-31. The Gusties were led in the first half by Miranda Rice (So., Forest Lake, Minn.), who scored 12 points and pulled in five boards, both team highs.

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Lindsey Johnson concluded her Gustie career with a big game – scoring 18 points and grabbing seven boards.

The third frame proved to be another tight one, with Gustavus starting out on a 6-0 run and eventually taking a 45-37 lead at the 5:04 mark. However, 2:32 later, Saint Mary’s had tied it back up, thanks in large part to three Gustie turnovers during that span. Senior Lindsey Johnson (Edina, Minn.) would close the quarter with two jumpers though, giving the Black and Gold a four-point, 49-45 lead headed into the final 10 minutes.

“We came out strong in the third and were able to pull away a bit, but it came down to the fourth where they made some big plays off critical turnovers that we had,” said Kelly.

In final quarter, the Cardinals started by going on a 6-0 run to retake the lead at 51-49. The Gusties would tie the game back up at 51-51 on a Hannah Howard jumper, but from there Gustavus went cold, shooting 2-of-11 over the next five minutes. That allowed the Cardinals to slip away, as they went on a 14-5 run during that time. The dagger came on an old fashioned three-point play from Micaela Meredith with 1:57 to play to give Saint Mary’s a 69-61 lead.

A Cardinal steal off Meredith’s free-throw resulted in a three-ball for Bridget Pethke, which would all but seal the game for Saint Mary’s. The Gusties fouled down the stretch to stop the clock, but the Cardinals nailed it down at the charity stripe, shooting 5-of-6 over the final 48 seconds, to cancel out any hope for Gustavus, despite three-pointers from Johnson and Kelsey Carpenter (Jr., St. Peter, Minn.).

As a team, Gustavus shot 39.4 percent from the floor, but only made it to the free-throw line 11 times compared to the Cardinals’ 23.

“I think the critical statistic was free-throw attempts…we needed to get to the line more but weren’t able to do so for a variety of reasons,” said Kelly. “That being said, Miranda and Lindsey were huge for us, and I’m so happy that Lindsey was able to end her career with a great individual effort.”

Rice led the Gusties on the night with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting and nine rebounds. Johnson, who played in her final game in a Gustie uniform, tallied 18 on 7-of-16 shooting and grabbed seven boards. The Cardinals put an emphasis on stopping Gustavus leading scorer Mikayla Miller (So., Goodhue, Minn.) and were mostly effective, holding her to 3-of-13 shooting and seven total points following her 24 point outing on Tuesday against Saint Benedict.

“It’s hard because I’m so proud of the team and so excited about the support we received from our parents and fellow Gusties tonight, which made for a great environment,” said Kelly. “It’s especially tough because I haven’t known Gustavus without Lindsey or Anna – they’ve been here my whole career and are special young women. It’s going to be sad to see the two of them go.”

“Overall, I enjoy this team so much and feel that we over-achieved this season,” concluded Kelly. “Although we lost, I felt it was a great basketball game. We did something special this season, we have a lot to build on, and the future is exciting.”

 


2 Comments

  1. Kyhl Thomson says:

    Congratulations on a great season Gusties. You were fun to watch

  2. Debra Langerud says:

    I have now been watching you play for two years and each year gets more exciting.
    You are all wonderful women with some great talent. Can’t wait for next year!!