Johnson leads late run in women’s basketball win over Gustavus

The St. Thomas women’s basketball team (8-2 overall, 7-0 in the MIAC) beat Gustavus (5-6 overall, 4-4 in the MIAC) 66-61 Saturday afternoon at Schoenecker Arena, but needed a late-game scoring run to do so.

“It was a good win,” coach Ruth Sinn said. “It’s very difficult to get behind five points late in the game and keep composed, but the team did.”

After pulling ahead 30-21 at the end of the first half, the Tommie defense struggled to stop the Gusties down the stretch during the second half.

“After halftime we had a lapse on defense,” freshman forward Taylor Young said. “We found it within us to pick it up again.”

Junior Ali Johnson was a big part of the late-game scoring run. Johnson led the team on a 12-4 run at the end of the game. She scored 22 points on the night, including six 3-pointers, tying a 22-year-old single-game record for 3-pointers.

Sinn said she was impressed with many aspects of the team’s play.

“We played good defense, and we were beating them to shots,” she said. “I also liked our point production.”

Sinn believed that numerous players played well Saturday, and she added that she was especially pleased with how Young “did a nice job stepping up and getting to the free-throw line.”=

Gustavus outshot St. Thomas at the free throw line, making 80 percent of its free throws compared to the Tommies’ 67 percent. But the teams were closely matched in most other areas. St. Thomas had 42 total rebounds during the game while Gustavus had 38, and St. Thomas shot 36 percent from the field while Gustavus shot 34 percent.

“It was definitely intense, because Gustavus is always a team we find challenging,” senior forward Jazmin Townsend said. “But our defense was really key for shutting down their key players. We attacked the basket and we had good teamwork.”

Coming off the win, the Tommies are now looking ahead to their next game against conference rival Concordia-Moorhead. Since both teams are tied in the conference standings, the game will be a battle for MIAC supremacy, Sinn said.

“We [St. Thomas and Concordia-Moorhead] are the two undefeated teams in the conference, so it’s the game every player wants to play in,” she said.

Young said the team is excited to take on Concordia-Moorhead.

“It’s a four-hour drive, so we have to get our money’s worth playing well against them,” she said.

The Tommies will play Concordia-Moorhead at 5:45 p.m. Jan. 12 at Concordia.

Katie Broadwell can be reached at