St. Paul – The Gustavus women's basketball team could not recover from a slow start on Wednesday night at Schoenecker Arena, falling to the University of St. Thomas by the score of 68-54. St. Thomas grabbed a 15-point halftime lead, shooting 57-percent in the opening half and riding the red-hot three-point shooting display of Kellie Ring who went 6-for-6 from three in the first half.
Gustavus falls to 13-9 overall and 12-7 in the MIAC with the loss, while St. Thomas improves to 17-5 overall and 15-4 in the MIAC with its fourth straight win.
"We gave up 43 points in the first half and you can't do that on the road," said head coach Laurie Kelly. "We played man, we played zone, yet could not get stops. It makes it difficult when you put pressure on your offense to score like that. We lacked the ability to get stops and that put us in a hole. That, along with the physicality of the game, played into the advantage of St. Thomas."
With St. Thomas leading by a narrow margin at 15-14 with 11:35 left in the first half, the Tommies went on an 11-0 scoring run in less than a three-minute time-span to go up 26-14.
Gustavus cut the deficit to seven points on three occasions with under ten minutes left in the half, yet could not close the gap any further. The Tommies ended the opening period on an 8-2 run to go up 43-28 at the break.
St. Thomas' Kellie Ring scored 18 of her 22 total points in the first half. She finished 6-for-8 from three-point range and 4-for-4 at the free throw line. Gustavus shot 44.8-percent from the field in the half – led in scoring by Karina Schroeder (Fy., Lake Crystal, Minn.) who had 10 points.
Although the Gusties held the Tommies to seven field goals in the second half, the Black and Gold turned the ball over ten times and shot 38.2-percent in the frame. St. Thomas held on to comfortable double-figure lead for the duration of the half, going 11-for-11 at the charity stripe and shooting 43.4-percent from the field.
Gustavus finished the game 21-for-55 (38.2%) from the field, 2-for-7 (28.6%) from three, and 10-for-11 (90.9%) at the line.
Schroeder and Kelsey Florian (Sr., Roseville, Minn.) led the Gusties in scoring with 14 points each. Schroeder went 7-for-14 from the field and brought down a game-high eight rebounds, five of which were on the offensive end. Florian went 4-for-12 from the floor and 6-for-6 at the line. Julia Dysthe (Jr., White Bear Lake, Minn.) finished next in line with 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting.
"Karina was great inside on both the offensive and defensive ends. She handled Smith well and was great on the boards," Kelly said about her rookie post.
St. Thomas finished 43.4-percent (23-53) from the field, 42.1-percent (42.1%) from three, and 87.5-percent (87.5%) at the stripe. The Tommie defense forced 19 turnovers on the evening, scoring a total of 26 points off turnovers.
The Gustavus women's basketball team will be back on the court Saturday afternoon when it takes on St. Catherine University at 3:00 p.m. on Gus Young Court. Saturday's game is designated as Senior Day as there will be a special tribute made to the Golden Gustie seniors prior to the game.