Nyden Hill – Staff Writer
This past Saturday, the Gustavus women’s basketball team took on the Macalester Scots at home in St. Peter. Going into the matchup, the Gusties looked to bounce back as they were coming off of their only loss of the season to Concordia on Nov 26.
“Obviously it was a tough loss to Concordia on Saturday, so this entire week practices have been focusing on us and getting back to where we were before the Concordia game. Going into the game, we were ready to show the rest of the conference that we were still very relevant,” Sophomore forward Rachel Kawiecki said.
Early in the first quarter, the Gusties wasted no time in running out to a commanding lead. Just three minutes into the first quarter, a steal and layup on the other end by Senior guard Anna Sanders gave the Gusties an 11-0 lead. The Scots remained scoreless on the game all the way until 6:19 was left in the first, with a Macalester three pointer ending the scoring drought to change the score to 11-3.
“Just knowing that we had a lot of depth compared to them was really helpful. They only play six or seven girls a lot of minutes. We knew that if we took advantage of that and played a faster paced game, we would be able to tire them out quickly and take advantage of our depth,” Senior guard Anna Sanders said.
This dominance for the Gusties continued throughout the first half, as they were able to keep control of the ball while forcing what was seemingly turnover after turnover.
“We have been working on pressing a lot in practice so that is something we wanted to try out. We really focus on the defensive end when we play and that is something we take a lot of pride in,” Junior forward Izzy Quick said.
Another forced turnover increased the score to 25-12 in favor of the Gusties.
Upon the conclusion of the first quarter, Quick led the Gusties offensively, totaling seven points on two field goals and three made free throws. Defensively, Sanders forced the majority of the Macalester turnovers, adding five steals in addition to five points.
“I feel like I have to give a lot of the credit to my teammates. Being able to find the right pass to the open person, which happened to be me a bit in the first quarter, running our offense right, and focusing on the little things helped with my success,” Quick said.
Throughout the second period, the Gusties’ dominance remained the same, with the score differential increasing to as much as 31 points. This time, Sanders led the Gusties on both ends of the ball by posting ten points and three steals in the period.
After a whole half of play, the box score tells a story of dominance with the Gusties leading in every available category. They led the Scots by 20 turnovers, 17 second chance points, and 12 fast break points.
After the half, the momentum that the Gusties had built throughout the game thus far only increased. In the third quarter, exceptional shooting and three-point shooting by the Gusties gave them a 40 point lead going into the final quarter of play. In addition to shooting 56% from the field and 66% from three, scoring for the Gusties was much more evenly distributed than in previous quarters. Sophomore guard Julia Knudson led the Gusties with six points, while Quick and Kawiecki added five and four points, respectively.
With such a large lead heading into the final period of action, one might expect the Gusties to fade a bit. However, with the score differential increasing to as much as 49 points, this assertion was far from the case. When the horn sounded to signal an end to the game, the Gusties emerged victorious with a dominating performance and yielded a final score of 89-40.
Ending the game, Sanders finished with 17 points and six steals. However, she was not the only Gustie in double digits. Quick and Kawiecki each added an additional 12 and 11 points, respectively.
This Gustie win advanced the team to 5-1 (3-1) on the season and undoubtedly adds weight to the already high hopes for the team this year.
Looking forward, the Gusties travel to Northfield on Dec 7 to take on the St. Olaf Oles. We wish them the best of luck as they hope to continue this remarkable year.