Women’s Basketball Wins Second-Straight and Second-Ever MIAC Playoff Championship Posted on February 26th, 2023 by


SAINT PETER, Minn. — Gustavus women’s basketball did it again.

The Gusties made history once more in an already record-setting season, earning the team’s second-ever MIAC Playoff Championship, and their second in as many years. The Gusties won the title for the first time in front of a home crowd, and, after 11 years, Head Coach Laurie Kelly and her team finally got to cut down the nets at Gus Young Court.

The Gusties defeated the visiting Cobbers of Concordia College by a score of 79-57 to win the title, led by Kylie Baranick (So., Maple Grove) who posted a career-high 24 points for the Gusties in the victory.

If the first quarter was any indication for the rest of the game, the Gusties and the Cobbers were set for a thriller. In just the first 10 minutes, the teams went back-and-forth for five lead changes and four ties, with the Gusties ultimately coming out with a 10 point lead after frame one. After a slow start by their standards, the Gusties responded to the Cobbers’ offense going 10-for-13 from the field, led by Baranick shooting 3-for-3 to start, scoring nine points.

Both teams faced some shooting woes in to start the second quarter. The Cobbers went 3-for-12 in the second, and the Gusties, after a hot shooting first, went 6-for-18. The Gusties built their lead to 13 three times throughout the quarter, getting eight points from Anna Sanders (Sr., Vadnais Heights). The Gustie defense forced eight Cobber turnovers in the second quarter hold the lead at 13 heading into the locker room with a halftime score of 40-27.

After the half, it was routine work for the Gusties. Gustavus got points from seven players in the third quarter for 21 total, and held the Cobbers to just 13. The Gusties were lethal from the free throw line, making the Cobbers pay for their fouls on the scoreboard, going 6-for-7 from the line, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from Baranick.

The Gusties could smell victory in the final frame, building their lead to as many as 26, thanks to a Baranick 3-pointer. The Cobbers didn’t give up easy, though, putting up 17 points to the Gusties’ 18 in the fourth. Bobbie Bruns (Fy., Blooming Prairie) held the ball as the scoreboard counted down for the final five seconds, and was joined by her teammates on the court to celebrate the playoff championship in front of a swarm of home fans.

Baranick’s 24 points were a game high, and was joined in double-digits by four more teammates. Sanders added 16 to the total, while Syd Hauger (Jr., Springfield), Grace Benz (Sr., Steele, N.D.), and Emma Kniefel (Jr., Medford) each added 11. Benz led the games’s rebounding efforts with seven total, and Baranick added to her team- and conference- lead in assists with six more on the day.

The Gusties, now 25-2 overall, earn the MIAC’s automatic qualifier to the national tournament and will await the NCAA DIII Selection Show for their opponent and placement in the tournament.


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