The Lady Mustangs’ basketball team couldn’t ask for a better Christmas present than its spotless 9-0 record. In fact, Monday’s 86-48 victory over Montana-based Great Falls University (10-4) gave the Lady Mustangs an additional gift: the best start to a season in program history.
“They [Great Falls] are a great team, and we matched their play,” assessed Lady Mustang coach Dan Waldeck. “We played very well and were able to take some of our good play from Saturday night and extend it to a full 40 minutes.”
TMC started the night with a 7-0 lead fueled by a three-pointer from Whitney Best (Snohomish, WA), two free throws from Theresa Brown (Eugene, OR), and a layup by Lena Rivera (Allen, TX). The Lady Mustangs controlled the entirety of the first half, evident by a 43-15 score at intermission.
Over the opening 20 minutes, the Mustangs shot a sparkling 48% (16-33) from the field and enjoyed an outstanding 80% (8-10) mark from the free throw line. Brown, in particular, was perfect at the line as the senior center went 4-4 on free throws and led TMC in scoring with 12 points at the break.
“She [Brown] was a super hero tonight,” commented Waldeck. “I’m so proud of her.”
Brown’s dominance continued in the second half as the Lady Mustang delivered a commanding block on Great Falls’ Erin Legel’s attempted layup just eight seconds into play.
The Lady Mustangs never let up in the second stanza as Millie Rivera (Allen, TX) led the second half charge with nine points. Five came from the line as the sophomore guard was nearly perfect by going 5-6 on free throws. In fact, Rivera’s third second-half free throw put the Mustangs up by a game-high 42 points (84-42) with 2:21 left on the clock.
Another successful free throw by Rivera at the 1:25 mark put the Lady Mustangs up 86-44 and put the game well out of reach for the Lady Argos.
Brown led three Mustangs in double figures with a team-high 16 points and pulled down a team-best 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Junior transfer Jacquelyn Marshall (San Clemente, CA) complemented Brown with 15 points on 7-11 shooting from the field and freshman Olivia Thompson (Huntington Beach, CA) tallied 11 more in an impressive performance off the bench. Finally, Lena Rivera dished out a team-high four assists.
The Mustangs will hang their basketball shoes with care as the squad now adjourns for a well-deserved Christmas break. TMC will return to the court on December 28 in the 2012 Jersey Mike’s Holiday Classic at Bross Gym to face Montana State Northern (7-4) in a 2:00 PM tipoff.
“The Jersey Mike’s Classic will be a challenge,” said Waldeck. “Montana State Northern is a great team and UC Merced will look to get back at us for beating them on their home court. But for now, I’m just thankful for a break.”