Skylar Tsutsui (Sr./Northridge, Calif./ Harvard-Westlake) poured in a game-high 23 points and became the 13th player in Carleton College women’s basketball history to surpass 1,000 career points, but the Knights were unable to overcome a large halftime deficit and ultimately dropped a 71-58 result to Bethel University.
Tsutsui converted a layup to cap a 10-0 Carleton run that knotted the game at 18 – 18 with 9:50 remaining in the first half, but Bethel (11-3, 5-3 MIAC) finished the opening half on a 21-4 run and carried a seemingly comfortable 39-22 advantage into intermission.
The young Carleton squad re-grouped during halftime and refused to surrender. The Knights started chipping away at the deficit, and the gap gradually narrowed.
With a Michele Arima (Jr./Valencia, Calif./West Ranch) three pointer, the Knights had clawed back to within 58-55 with 6:15 still to play in regulation. Unfortunately for Carleton, the Royals were able to hold off the charge and closed the game on a 13-3 run to avoid squandering their large lead.
“It has been a season of growth so far, but today I saw the most important growth of all,” said Carleton head coach Cassie Kosiba. “Despite being down 17 at half, we came out in the second half and took it to the Royals. Our body language and facial expressions changed drastically. I knew within the first minute a different team stepped on the court for the second half. The challenge now is to bring that same passion and aggression consistently.”
Tsutsui entered the contest four points shy of joining the 1,000-point club. She scored the Knights’ first five points, including a steal and breakaway layup at the 16:56 mark of the first half to notch her1,000th and 1,001st career points.
The 23 points is the fourth-highest single-game total of Tsutsui’s career and gives her 11 career contests—three of them this season—with 20-plus points. During the game she leapfrogged Anna Bandick (1,003 points) and Denell Downum (1,011 points) and moved into 11th place on Carleton’s all-time scoring list with 1,019 points.
Bethel was able to withstand the Knights scoring flurry in the second half thanks to the scoring of preseason All-American Rachel Parupsky, who tallied 14 of her team- high 20 points in the second half. The Royals also received 17 points, eight rebounds, and five steals from Kalli Zimmerman.
Arima matched her season high with 16 points to provide offensive support for Tsutsui. Nnenna Ezem (Fy./Berkeley, Ill./ Proviso West Academy) added eight rebounds, five points, and four blocks. However, the Carleton comeback collapsed under the pressure of 24 turnovers leading to 27 Bethel points.