Over January term the Women’s Basketball team was on a mission to extend their season and clinch one of the coveted MIAC playoff spots, and they did just that.
Since the end of first semester, the team has posted eight wins and four losses, bringing their overall record to 16-5 and 12-4 in MIAC play.
Following a three-game winning streak in January the team fell to St. Benedict Jan. 29 and to St. Thomas Feb. 1 by scores of 53-64 and 67-68, respectively.
In this crucial period of the team’s season, a win against their next opponent, Carleton, was at the top of the list in order to relieve some of the pressure on the final games of the season.
The Black and Gold came out flying and went into the half on top with a score of 46-27.
The second half was a clinic for the Gustie sharpshooters as they increased on their lead and closed the game out with a final score of 90-61.
The team was led by strong performances from First-years Caitlin Rorman, who notched 23 points, and Anna Sanders who dropped 22 of her own on a lights out 8-of-9 shooting.
This win was crucial for the Gusties in order to turn things around following the two losses and push for a postseason spot, according to Head Coach Laurie Kelly.
“We had players step up and we made a lot of shots,” Kelly said. “It’s where we’ve been kind of up and down this year but we shot well and [Sanders] was on fire for us. After two straight home losses we knew coming into today we only had two more home games guaranteed so for us to come out and play how we did was really good to see.”
Most recently the team faced off against the Oles in Northfield.
The game proved to be a test for the Gusties as St. Olaf kept the score close in the beginning of the game.
The team displayed dominant defensive play in the second quarter however, and held the Oles to 3-of-16 shooting while forcing five turnovers.
After a 15 point lead at the half, the third quarter began with the teams trading buckets, but the Gusties found their stride and went on a 20-7 scoring run to ensure the victory.
Junior Ava Gonsorowski led the team in scoring with 17 points and six assists. The First-year duo of Rorman and Sanders was on display once again as they dropped 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Junior Paige Richert cleaned up the glass for the Gusties, notching a season-high 12 rebounds to go along with eight points of her own.
“We came out of the gates strong for the second straight game,” Kelly said. “We knocked down shots early to give us a lot of confidence, and we got scoring from a lot of different people. Our ability to knockdown open shots today started giving us really good looks inside. All around it was a solid performance, particularly on the defensive end, to get the win.”
This winning stretch the team put together was enough to secure them a spot in postseason play and the team hopes to close the regular season on a strong note in order to carry some momentum into playoffs.
“We’re playing well at the right time and three of our final four games are on the road so today was something good to build on for the next two weeks,” Kelly said.
The team is back in action for their last regular season home game against Bethel at 3 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Gus Young Court.