Women’s Hoops Controls Bethel Start to Finish, Advances to MIAC Championship

Posted on February 25th, 2022 by

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus women’s basketball team had one of its most dominant performances of the season Friday night, defeating Bethel 74-40 in the MIAC semifinals. The Gusties, now 21-4 overall, advance to their sixth MIAC playoff championship game in program history where they will travel to top-seeded Augsburg (21-5) for a 2 p.m. Sunday tipoff in Minneapolis.

For the fifth consecutive game, Gustavus held its opponent under 50 points while limiting the Royals to 22.4 percent shooting from the field.

“Defense has really been our signature, which is allowing us to get some high percentage shots,” Head Coach Laurie Kelly said. “We were able to hit shots tonight and that allowed us to set our defense. Our focus was to keep them off the offensive glass and we played inside-out on them, not allowing their post players inside.”

Bethel started the game with a pair of free throws for a 2-0 lead, but that was short-lived as the Gusties responded with nine consecutive points – seven off the hands of Emma Kniefel (So., Medford). The Gusties increased their lead to 20-9 at the end of the first and carried the momentum into the second quarter for a commanding 40-17 lead at half. Gustavus took advantage of turnovers, scoring 21 points off the takeaway in the first 20 minutes.

Gustavus did not let off the gas in the third quarter, increasing its lead to 30 points late in the frame and eventually gaining its largest advantage at the final buzzer.

Anna Sanders (Jr., Vadnais Heights) scored a game-high 17 points, including four three-pointers and four steals. Kniefel missed just one shot all game (7-8) for 16 points. Morgan Kelly (Fy., Saint Peter) added 10 points off the bench and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

In front of the largest home crowd of the season, Gustavus shot 52.1 percent from the floor and 50 percent from beyond the arc.

“The fans were great tonight,” Kelly said. “To have our players play on Gus Young Court in that type of environment is special. I’ve had a lot of really great teams but this one is special on the court and off the court.”

 

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