Santa Clarita, CA -- Scoring the game's first dozen points, The Master's College women's basketball team welcomed in the 2014 portion of their schedule with an 89-60 blitzing of Cal State San Marcos Saturday evening on Bross Court.
The sixth win in a row for the No. 12 Mustangs improved their record to 11-3, highlighted by a glittering 8-1 mark at home.
Sharpshooting sophomore Nicole Nitake (Torrance, CA) ignited the club's opening run, draining a three-pointer just eight seconds into play and senior Zoe Scott (Spokane, WA) capped it off more than three minutes later (16:34) on another long-range bomb. Those trifectas were sandwiched around a Kelly Burns' (Yorba Linda, CA) jumper and two Jacquelyn Marshall (San Clemente, CA) baskets as the Mustangs raced to a 12-0 lead.
Certainly, the game was not over at that point but the Mustangs completely dominated the game's first 13 minutes before letting the Cougars creep back to within shouting distance.
Following the early onslaught, the Mustangs continued to pour it on, using an 11-0 skein in a 1:12 window to extend the advantage to a half-high 19 points (28-9) with 11:04 left in the opening stanza. Fittingly, Nitake's second triple of the half initiated the skein while Shannon Kingery (West Hills, CA), who tossed in 11 points off the bench, ended it with five straight points, including a bomb from behind the arc. A little over three minutes later (8:01), Megan Lindsley (Vancouver, WA) continued the club's long-distance accuracy, draining the team's fifth (5-8) three-pointer of the half for a 35-17 lead.
That seemed to wake up the Cougars, who showed some life over the next four-plus minutes, making a game of it before the Mustangs regained control. During that stretch, the Cougars shaved 10 points off the deficit, closing to 38-30 on a Heather Thompson jumper with 3:35 remaining in the half.
However, the Mustangs gathered themselves in the fleeting moments of the stanza, going to Nitake and Marshall, who combined for the club's final seven points before the break. Nitake scored on a layup and hit a pair of free throws while Marshall put one in off the glass and then converted a free throw that gave her team a 45-33 advantage at intermission.
Keyed by their sparkling results from behind the arc, the Mustangs went 16-33 (49%) from the field in the opening half while limiting the Cougars to 38% (13-34) shooting. Nitake had 10 first-half points while Marshall added nine more.
The Cougars pulled to within nine (45-36) on a Lindsay Uyematsu trey 14 seconds into the second half but when Marshall scored on a layup on the Mustangs' first possession, it sparked a 13-4 run that doubled their advantage. Whitney Best (Snohomish, WA) followed Marshall's hoop with a jumper and then the club stepped back and buried three straight trifectas, two by Scott and the other from Nitake for a 58-40 lead.
Scott's second trey, her 29th of the season, gave her 198 for her career, one behind all-time leader and Mustang assistant, Kinsley Goeman (Mittel, 199 from 2003-07).
That run sealed the win for the Mustangs who spent the final 15 minutes moving toward the final result and playing nearly everybody in the process. The margin reached 20 points (64-44) on a Kingery layup with 11:43 remaining, expanded to 25 (81-56) on two Olivia Thompson (Huntington Beach, CA) free tosses at the 5:15 mark, and hit a game-high 31 points twice (87-56, 89-58) in the closing two minutes on a pair of Lindsley free throws and a layup by the freshman.
The Mustangs blistered the nets in the second half, hitting at a 64% (18-28) clip and finished the game at just under 56% (34-61), their second-best effort of the year.
Looking back on the win, Coach Dan Waldeck said, "I thought we played a well-rounded game, especially throughout the second half. Our underclassmen stepped up big tonight and as our team continues to play unselfish basketball (20 assists on 34 baskets), I know we will continue to improve."
Marshall, who played sparingly in the second half, recorded her fourth consecutive double-double and seventh of the season, tying Nitake and Cougar Cassie Damyanovich for game-high scoring honors with 15 points while snaring a game-best 10 rebounds.
Lindsley led a 40-point performance for the Mustang bench, tossing in 13 points.
The Mustangs complete a six-game homestand on Thursday night when they seek to extend their six-game winning streak against La Sierra in a 7:00pm start on Bross Court.