Gusties Defeat Simpson in 76-73 Nail-Biter Posted on November 16th, 2022 by


SAINT PETER, Minn. — The Gustavus women’s basketball team faced a familiar foe for their home opener on Wednesday night. After all, it was the Simpson College Storm who knocked the Gusties out of the NCAA Tournament at the end of last season. Wednesday’s game told the tale of a different story, though, as the Gusties defeated the Storm 76-73.

The Gusties jumped out to a quick start, 6-0, thanks to the efforts of Rachel Kawiecki (So., Richfield) who posted the game’s opening four points. The Gusties would build their first quarter lead to as many as 11, 18-7, before closing out the first frame 19-9. The Storm turned on the jets at the start of the second quarter, cutting the Gustie lead to five at 19-14. The Gusties responded to the Storm’s efforts with seven points of their own for a 10-point lead at 26-16, and headed into the halftime break leading 29-24.

The Storm finally evened the score at 30-30 and used the momentum to build their own lead over the Gusties to as many as seven, at 41-34. The Gusties, unfazed, looked to senior Anna Sanders (Vadnais Heights), who responded with three three-pointers to regain the lead at 45-41. The Gusties held onto their lead heading into the final frame at 54-47.

“We started off strong, which was a key for us, but we struggled to make shots,” said Head Coach Laurie Kelly. “Defensively, we did the things we needed to do. It showed a lot of experience and composure when they went on the big run in the third, and we could have easily panicked. Anna Sanders was key for us then. She lives for those moments, and that’s when she shines.”

The Storm cut their deficit to just one in the fourth quarter at 62-61 and even took the lead over the Gusties at 71-70. Two free throws from Sanders would give the Gusties a one-point lead with just a minute remaining. Kylie Baranick (So., Maple Grove) sealed the deal for the Gusties, making two free throws to hold the Gustie lead at three with 20 seconds left, earning the 76-73 non-conference victory.

“Anna completely swung the momentum back to us, and that’s when the fans and the student section gave us the home court advantage we needed. Down the stretch, we got stops and we made free-throws. We showed heart when it mattered.”

“They’re a really good team. They’re well-coached and they’re used to winning. We’ve had such a great opportunity to play some tough teams at the start of our season. To finish up against a team like Simpson in a battle like that helps us get ready for what really matters — the MIAC season. We’re looking ahead to Saturday and we’re ready to start MIAC play.”

The Gusties, now 2-0 overall, begin MIAC play this weekend, hosting Saint Mary’s for a 3 p.m tip off.


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