By Joe Tischler
Special to The Free Press
ST PETER —
Last January 28, St. Thomas came to St. Peter with the top spot in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference at stake and gave Gustavus Adolphus a 72-52 defeat.
The stakes were the same at Gus Young Court Wednesday night as both the No. 3-ranked Tommies and Gusties came in with identical 8-0 records in the MIAC. Unfortunately for Gustavus, the result was the same. St. Thomas raced to a 12-0 lead and didn’t look back en route to a 65-43 victory.
St. Thomas came in riding a 31-game winning streak within the MIAC, but Gustavus still came in with high hopes of being the team to end that run.
“This year we came in more confident than last year,” said Gustavus senior Abby Rothenbuehler. “We came in with the mentality that we can do this.”
Gustavus turnovers and stellar St. Thomas defense combined for the early deficit for the Gusties. A pair of 3’s from the Tommies’ Carley Emery in transition led to the 12-0 spurt in the game’s first four minutes.
Rothenbuehler finally got the Gusties on the board after she put back her own blocked shot four and a half minutes into the game. Kelsey Florian followed with a basket to make it 12-4. That was as close as Gustavus would get the rest of the game.
Rothenbuehler came into the game leading the Gusties in scoring with an average of 13.5 points per game. Wednesday night, she was held to just five on 2-for-10 shooting.
“We haven’t played a team that’s played that type of defense,” said Rothenbuehler. “People that we have scoring every night were held to less than their averages.”
Gustavus shot just 26 percent in the first half (6-for-23) and committed 13 turnovers as it trailed 33-15 at the break.
“I thought we came out really nervous,” said first year head coach Laurie Kelly. “We really struggled to handle their pressure. We weren’t able to get the ball inside to Abby Rothenbuehler and Karina Schroeder as much as we needed to.”
The Gusties came out in the second half looking to dig into the deficit and Schroeder received a nice feed from Rothenbuehler and laid it in, making it 33-17.
But Jenna Dockter ended all hopes of a comeback by scoring all seven of St. Thomas’ points in a 7-2 spurt to put the Tommies up 40-19.
Gustavus shot better in the second half (43.5 percent), but was not able to threaten the rest of the game.
Gustavus (9-3, 8-1 MIAC) play Saturday at St. Catherine.