With a dominating performance over Carleton College on Feb. 20, the Gustavus Women’s Basketball team wrapped up yet another successful regular season, ending in a tie with Saint Mary’s for second place in the MIAC — just two games behind St. Thomas who won its 12th consecutive conference title.
“This season we have been focusing on one game at a time. They are each individual stepping stones on our journey this year.”—Mikayla Miller
This marks a notable rise in the program as a whole, improving upon its 2014-15 record of 11-7 and posting 14 wins and only conceding 4 losses in the MIAC, three of which were decided by ten or less points.
Attention was then refocused to the postseason, where Gustavus faced conference rival St. Ben’s for the second time in less than a week, this time soaring to a dominant victory 65-40. This is the first playoff win the team has had since 2012.
Sophomore guard Mikayla Miller scored 24 points and tallied ten assists in the victory. She leads the team in scoring.
“We have to play forty minutes every time we hit the floor and each possession becomes a little bit more important.”—Coach Laurie Kelly
“This season we have been focusing on one game at a time. They are each individual stepping stones on our journey this year, which has been working so far and helped us stay focused and realize how hard we have worked all season. It’s been paying off since half the teams in the conference didn’t get to have practice this past Saturday,” Miller said.
The concern, especially in the playoffs, remains in consistency of play, not necessarily game-to-game at this point, but incremental between the whistles.
“With the postseason…we have to play 40 minutes every time we hit the floor and each possession becomes a little bit more important,” Coach Laurie Kelly said.
At time of print on Thursday Feb. 25, the Gusties will be facing off against St. Mary’s University in Winona. The Gusties and the Cardinals tied for second place in the MIAC standings during the regular season, but the playoff tiebreaker went to the Cardinals due to their head-to-head victory in Winona on Dec. 2.
“We have been focusing this week in getting great shots every time down the floor, [as well as] limiting our turnovers.”—Mikayla Miller
Arguably, one of the keys of this matchup is momentum. Fortunately, Gustavus continues playing in the postseason with heat, winning six consecutive games. This should come as no surprise, as the Gusties have had a strong and consistent showing throughout the year, stringing multiple win streaks together and never losing more than one game in a row.
“We have been focusing this week on getting great shots every time down the floor, [as well as] limiting our turnovers. Stopping the ball in transition will be a huge factor in the end result. We are well prepared, and more than ready to play,” Miller said.