Young's late basket lifts Toms past Gusties
Freshman Taylor Young's 10-foot jumper with :06 left broke a 48-48 tie and propelled the top-seed Tommies (20-6) to a tight 50-48 victory over fourth-seed Gustavus (17-10) in Thursday night's MIAC women's basketball semifinal playoff game at UST's Schoenecker Arena.
After a time out, Molly Geske dribbled swiftly downcourt but her potential tying shot at the horn fell short for the Gusties in their season-ending loss.
The Tommies, who beat Gustavus for the third time this season, have won nine of their last 10 games and are 11-1 in home MIAC play.
St. Thomas will host Saturday's 3 p.m. championship game against Concordia-Moorhead (20-6). The second-seed Cobbers ran their win streak to five with Thursday's 78-69 home win over St. Ben's.
The Toms outscored Gustavus 21-3 from 3-point range to offset their 20 turnovers and 39 percent shooting from the floor.
Young finished with 10 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals, and Sarah Smith had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Jazmin Townsend chipped in 10 points.
Gustie senior Molly Mathiowetz scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, and Kelsey Florian added 10 points and six rebounds. Gustavus had a slight 33-31 rebound edge but shot only 33 percent from the floor.
UST closed the first half on a 15-2 run to build a 30-20 halftime lead. But the Gusties chipped away. Eva Perry's 3-point basket with 1:37 to go -- GAC's lone trey on the night -- capped an 11-2 run and tied the game at 48-48. Both teams missed a go-ahead shot in the next 70 seconds.
Young scored the game winner on a jumper from just inside the free-throw line with 5.6 seconds to go. Coach Ruth Sinn had called a timeout with 21 seconds to go and designed the final play for Young to take the shot.
"I was supposed to try to get to the basket, but they doubled down on me," said Young, a 5-foot-11 freshman forward from Edina. "Jaz (Townsend) was open, hit me with a good pass and I was able to hit the basket."
Young made the Tommies' last two buckets of the game. The first, at the 2:47 mark, gave St. Thomas a 48-43 lead but the Gusties finished off their 11-2 run to tie the game at 48-48 with 1:37 remaining.
After holding a 46-37 lead, Sinn blamed her team's inability to close out Gustavus to poor ball movement. "We weren't in rhythm," she said. "We weren't attacking the basket, and that's what we normally do well."
Townsend again held in check Molly Geske, Gustavus' leading scorer at 14.8 points game. Geske scored only two points on 1 of 10 shooting; on Feb. 12 in St. Peter, Townsend limited Geske to only 11 points of 3 of 12 shooting in the Tommies' 65-58 win.
"Jaz is a remarkable defender," Sinn said. "Rarely against Jaz do you get an open look to the basket, and when you don't, it wears on you."
Even with Young's heroics, Sinn credited the St. Thomas defense for the win -- it was the 11th time in 23 MIAC games the Toms limited opponents to 53 or less points. Gustavus shot only 32.7 percent (to the Tommies' 39 percent), and was just 1-of-9 from three-point range (the Tommies hit 7 of 13 treys).
The seven 3-pointers was one off UST's season high, set at home Jan. 8 vs. Gustavus in a 66-61 win.... the 50 points marked the lowest scoring output for the Tommies in their 40 all-time postseason victories, and lowest scoring showing in a victory in seven seasons.
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