Women’s Basketball Advances To MIAC Title Game, Upsets Saint Ben’s 61-53

Posted on February 22nd, 2018 by

The Gusties celebrate after defeating Saint Ben's. (photo courtesy of Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com)


ST. JOSEPH, Minn. – For the first time in program history, the Gustavus women’s basketball team won a MIAC playoff game on the road, upsetting No. 2 seed Saint Benedict 61-53 Thursday to punch its ticket to the conference championship game for the second straight year.

“This team is a special team and very deserving to put their mark in the record book,” Head Coach Laurie Kelly said. “We came ready to play, which wasn’t the case last time we faced Saint Ben’s. Players stepped up when they needed to, especially when we got in foul trouble. We played loose and together. This is what you play for and now we’re excited to have the opportunity to play for a conference championship and a bid to the national tournament.”

Saint Ben’s took the first lead of the game, but after a couple jumpers by Miranda Rice (Sr., Forest Lake, Minn.), the Gusties took a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the contest. Rice started the game with the Gusties’ first eight points and had 10 after the first quarter, guiding the visitors to a 15-9 advantage after the first 10 minutes.

The Blazers started the second quarter with a three-pointer to cut their deficit to three points, but the Gusties ensued with 13 unanswered points. At the end of the first half, the Gusties led 30-21.

The home team would not go without a fight, out-scoring the Gusties 13-9 in the third quarter to trail by five points and then on its first possession of the fourth quarter made the score 39-36. Gustavus had an answer, though, scoring six unanswered points and did not let the Blazers come within five points of the lead the rest of the game.

Three Gusties reached double-digit scoring led by Justine Lee’s (Jr., Dawson, Minn.) 16 points. Lee was 5-for-7 from the floor and 4-for-6 from the free throw line. Mikayla Miller (Sr., Goodhue, Minn.) added 13 points and Rice chipped in 12 before fouling out late in the game. Emee Udo (Sr., Apple Valley, Minn.) tied for the team lead on the boards with Miller, each with seven rebounds – tying a career-high for Udo.

The Gusties won the rebounding battle 35-28 and shot 42.6 percent from the floor. The visitors also forced 16 turnovers to generate 26 points off the takeaway.

Next up for Gustavus (22-5) is a rematch of last season’s MIAC Championship game at St. Thomas (24-2). Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. Saturday in St. Paul.


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