After what resembled a heavy-weight boxing match for the entirety of the game, the No. 8 nationally ranked Lady Mustangs suffered their first loss of the season against conference opponent, and No. 9 nationally ranked, Westmont, with a final score of 68-57.
“You never want to lose,” assessed Lady Mustang Coach Dan Waldeck. “Some of the things we need to work on are now evident. We’ll learn from this and move on.”
The loss now brings the Lady Mustangs to 17-1 and 4-1 in the Golden State Athletic Conference, giving Westmont sole possession of the GSAC with a record of 14-3, and 5-0 in conference play.
The evening opened up as usual for the Lady Mustangs as Zoe Scott (Spokane, WA) drained a three-pointer, followed by Theresa Brown (Eugene, OR) sinking a jumper that brought the score to 5-0. But a stingy Warrior offense led by Tugce Canitez emerged, and cut TMC’s lead to as little as one point.
It was at the 12:02 mark that Westmont’s Kelsie Sampson drove in a layup to give the Warriors the lead at 10-9. From here, the Lady Mustangs played catch-up for the rest of the stanza, and trailed the Warriors by one point on four separate occasions before the end of the half.
At the half, Westmont led the Lady Mustangs 31-29, and shot 43% (13-30) from the field. TMC shot a collective 37% (10-27) from the field, and was paced by Whitney Best (Snohomish, WA) and Lena Rivera (Allen, TX) who both chipped in six points.
The Lady Mustangs fought back early in the second half by a Jacquelyn Marshall (San Clement, CA) free throw, followed by a three pointer from Best that gave TMC a two point advantage at 33-31.
Unfortunately, that lead quickly slipped away as Westmont’s Kelsie Sampson responded with a jumper, followed by a layup, giving the Warriors a permanent lead for the remainder of the night.
Westmont’s lead was as small as two points and ballooned to as large as 12 points in the final 17 minutes of play. At the end of the second half, the final score came to 68-57, and delivered the Lady Mustangs their first loss of the 2012-13 campaign.
For the night, TMC shot 30% (20-66), and was led in scoring by Lena Rivera who had 12 points and six rebounds.
Coach Waldeck further commented on the Lady Mustangs’ performance by saying “I thought we played really hard. They [Westmont] have had a couple of tough losses this season that has taught them valuable things, and we haven’t. I think we needed it.”
Waldeck and his Lady Mustangs have little time to dwell on their loss as the squad now turns their attention a non-conference game Thursday night against La Sierra (11-12). Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM in Bross Gym.
Cooper Damron scored the go-ahead basket with 50 seconds left to play and sixth-ranked Westmont held off The Master’s College to post a 75-71 victory Tuesday evening in a raucous Bross Gym.
The loss was the fifth in the past six outings for the upset-minded Mustangs who wasted a career-high 31 points from Derrick Fain (Dallas, TX) and fell to 1-4 in the GSAC and 12-8 overall.
Damron’s layup with less than a minute to go proved to be the 11th and final lead change of the evening and the Warriors tallied their final five points from the line to preserve the victory. The go-ahead basket was right in the middle of a 2:31 scoreless stretch for the Mustangs who went ahead 69-68 on a Fain three-point play with 2:36 remaining but didn’t score again until Leif Karlberg (Anchorage, AK) scooped in an uncontested layup with five ticks left on the clock.
The margins separating the two squads over the final 20 minutes of play were as close as expected, highlighted by eight ties and 10 lead changes. The game was tied 34-all at halftime but the Warriors tallied the first five points of the second stanza. Back came the Mustangs, who tore off seven straight points, highlighted by a spectacular alley-oop dunk by Jason Logan (Spartanburg, SC) off a Fain lob, to take a 41-39 lead with 17:21 remaining.
But, just as quickly, the Warriors retaliated with a 6-0 run to move back in front by four points (45-41) with 15:28 left to play. From there the game ebbed and flowed the rest of the way with neither team leading by more than five points.
One of those margins (56-51) was owned by the Mustangs following an 8-0 skein in a 1:10 span. A Chris Patureau (Houston, TX) three-pointer ignited the run, Karlberg followed with another trifecta, and Fain finished it off with a layup. That lead lasted less than a minute as the Warriors roared back to tie it on a three-pointer by Christopher Miller and a Jordan Sachs’ layup at the 9:20 mark.
Neither club would enjoy another run until the Warriors, keyed by Damron’s basket, created their decisive, late-game burst. Final evidence of the closeness that marked play over the final 20 minutes came from the field where both clubs shot an identical 14-23 (60.9%).
Although the first half didn’t offer the nail-biting action of the second stanza, there was still plenty to cheer about if you were a Mustang fan, especially during the game’s first 15 minutes.
Fain, who drained four three-pointers in the game, canned his first trey of the evening to snap a two-all tie at the 17:38 mark, handing the Mustangs a lead they wouldn’t relinquish for the next 14 minutes. Five straight points by Karlberg extended the lead to 10-4 and when the senior sharpshooter converted a layup with 13:01 remaining in the half, the Mustangs enjoyed a 15-7 advantage.
The Warriors fought back with five straight points to close within 15-12 at the 10:49 mark but a Korey Anderson (Clovis, CA) free throw, a Logan layup, and a stingy defense that kept the visitors off the board for over four minutes combined to give the Mustangs a six-point lead (18-12).
Logan and Fain led another charge for the Mustangs as the two combined for all seven points during a 7-2 run that produced the evening’s largest lead (25-16) with 4:47 left in the stanza.
However, in a preview of what was to come after intermission, the Warriors closed the half strong, outscoring the Mustangs 18-5 in a 3:20 stretch to take a 34-30 lead with just over a minute to play before the break. Anderson and Devin Dyer (Temecula, CA) stopped the momentum, though, as a layup by the former and a buzzer-beating jumper from the latter sent the squads to the locker room deadlocked.
Fain and Logan tallied 13 and nine points, respectively, during a half in which the Mustangs shot 48% (12-25) from the field while holding the Warriors to 43% accuracy.
Fain’s game-high point total came on 11-14 shooting from the field, including a 4-5 mark from behind the arc. Logan and Karlberg chipped in with 12 points apiece.
The Mustangs finish off a two-game homestand on Saturday when they host San Diego Christian in a 7:30pm start in Bross Gym.
In other GSAC action Tuesday night, No. 15 Hope International clobbered Biola 71-37, Arizona Christian edged San Diego Christian 74-70, and Concordia beat Vanguard 84-74.