SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Ten days away from the court didn't faze The Master's College women's basketball team one bit as the Lady Mustangs tamed the Dakota Wesleyan Tigers with a 72-64 victory Friday night at Bross Court.
"I thought for coming off a 10-day break and having one practice we played very well," commented Lady Mustang head coach Dan Waldeck. "We struggled a bit offensively in the second half, but we got some huge stops, held them and pulled off the win. We'll move on, learn from this, and look to play Westminster tomorrow."
With the win in the inaugural game at the 2013 Jersey Mike's Holiday Classic, the 12th-ranked Lady Mustangs' 2013-14 record climbs to 9-3, while the Tiger's record lowers to 10-4.
Despite Dakota Wesleyan's early pair of 2-point leads, the Lady Mustang's controlled the tempo for almost the entirety of the first half. TMC's largest lead came at the 2:12 mark when a Millie Rivera (Allen, TX) charity toss gave the Lady Mustangs a 19-point advantage at 43-24. Later on, free throws from Rivera and Lindsey Levanen (Battle Ground, WA) gave TMC a 45-30 lead at the half.
At the break, TMC's Jacquelyn Marshall (San Clemente, CA) led all competitors by scoring 14 points and bringing down 6 boards. Zoe Scott (Spokane, WA) produced 4 assists, while Nicole Nitake (Torrance, CA) tallied 3 steals. As a team, the Lady Mustangs went 16-34 (47%) from the field, 3-9 (33%) behind the arc, and 10-12 (83%) on free throws.
Up until the 12:51 mark in the second half, TMC maintained a healthy lead ranging from 18 to 21 points. But, over the next 10 minutes, the Tigers produced a 22-6 run, bringing the Lady Mustang's lead to two points at 66-64 with 2:39 left to play. Fortunately for TMC, a Nitake layup with 51 seconds on the clock preceded a pair of successful free throws from Best and Levenan and brought the final score to 72-64.
Marshall earned a double-double by scoring 18 points and yanking down 12 rebounds. Best scored 15 more points, while Scott chipped in five assists. At the end of both halves, the Lady Mustangs went 24-64 (37%) from the field, 6-24 (25%) behind the arc, and 18-22 (81%) on free throws.
Tomorrow, TMC will wrap-up their time at the Jersey Mike's Holiday Classic in a 7:00 p.m. match against the Westminster College Griffin's. The Griffin's currently boast a No. 4 national ranking and a 7-1 overall record.
"Westminster is very well coached and very tough," further assessed Waldeck. "They'll challenge us at every level. Hopefully, we'll play a lot better than how we did tonight."