Senior Theresa Brown netted a team-high 19 points and triggered a decisive second-half run to lead The Master’s College past William Jessup 74-62 Saturday evening in Rocklin.
The victory completed a brief, but successful, two-game Northern California road trip for the Mustangs who stayed undefeated at 7-0 with two wins over the weekend.
That didn’t look like it was going to happen, at least if you only looked at the opening 20 minutes. In that first stanza, the host Warriors controlled the tempo and the scoreboard, leading from the opening tip to the halftime horn. They tore off the first seven points of the game, led by as many as ten points, shrugged off a couple of Mustang rallies, and led 30-26 at the break.
The Mustangs did bounce back after the Warriors’ initial burst, drawing to 12-10 on a pair of Jacqueline Marshall (San Clemente, CA) free throws with 14:52 remaining in the first half. Prior to that, Brown (Eugene, OR) tallied the club’s first four points of the game and Millie Rivera (Allen, TX) added three more.
But, like they did throughout the opening half, the Warriors just managed to keep the Mustangs at hands-length, ripping off a 10-2 run over a 5:24 span to extend the advantage to 22-12. Consecutive three-pointers from Olivia Thompson (Huntington Beach, CA) and Nicole Nitake (Torrance, CA) helped to carve four points off that deficit but the Mustangs couldn’t get closer than six points until Whitney Best’s (Snohomish, WA) two free throws with just over a minute left made it a four-point margin at halftime.
Shooting just 26% from the field in the first half, the Mustangs were fortunate to be down by only four points at intermission. Brown’s 10 points were a major reason why the club stayed within shouting distance as did 36% shooting by the Warriors.
Both clubs shot considerably better in the second half but it was a game-changing run by the Mustangs over the first five minutes of the period that turned the game in their favor. And, it was Brown who led the way. The senior post hit a jumper 42 seconds into the half and the Mustangs were off on an 18-2 streak that turned a four-point deficit into a 12-point lead (44-32). Brown added two free throws during the skein and two three-pointers each from Zoe Scott (Spirit Lake, ID) and Kimmy Iverson (San Marcos, CA) blew the game open.
The contest was far from over and the Warriors did make a couple of runs but much like Jessup did in the first half, the Mustangs were able to rebuff the hosts’ efforts at a comeback. When the Warriors pulled to within 49-41 at the 11:27 mark, Nitake drained a three-pointer that keyed a quick 6-0 spurt for a 55-41 advantage with 10:15 left to play. Brown scored the last three points of that run on a basket and a free throw.
Down 66-53 with just under five minutes remaining, the Warriors made one last surge, reeling off seven straight points and holding the Mustangs scoreless for nearly three minutes to pull within 66-60 with 2:50 remaining. But, Best put an end to the skein with a free throw, Scott drained her third three-ball of the half, and Lena Rivera (Allen, TX) finished things off with two more charity tosses. That was enough to seal the deal on another Mustang win.
Sparked by a sizzling 7-9 performance from behind the arc, the Mustangs wound up shooting 61% from the field in the second half.
Brown’s 19 points came on a 5-9 mark from the field and 9-12 at the line while Scott chipped in with 11 more, all of those coming in a hot second half. West equaled Scott’s point total and also distributed a team-high four assists.
A quirk in the schedule has the Mustangs off for the next two weeks but when they return to action it will be against these same Warriors on Dec. 15 in Bross Gym.