Even before March has begun, madness has made its way to Bross Gym as Biola (16-16) topped the No. 11 nationally ranked Lady Mustangs 56-51 in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament. This was the second time in three weeks that the Eagles beat the Lady Mustangs on their home court, as they first took TMC 60-50 in overtime on February 9.
Biola, who was the No. 6 seed in the GSAC tournament, brings the Lady Mustangs’ (No. 3 seed in the GSAC tournament) overall record to 25-5, still proving to be one of TMC’s finest seasons in program history.
Things looked sour from the start as the Eagles rocketed out with a 16-8 lead in the first six minutes of play. Coach Waldeck of the Lady Mustangs looked to cage the Eagles by subbing in Kimberley Iverson (San Marcos, CA), TMC’s go-to long range marksmen. Iverson produced a three-pointer after Jacquelyn Marshall (San Clemente, CA) posted a jumper which cut the score to 16-13 in favor of Biola.
In the span of six minutes, scoring was silent until Marshall drained two free throws at the 6:16 mark, closing the Eagles’ lead to one. Marshall kept the Lady Mustangs alive after Biola’s Chelsea Hill drained a long-range jumper by responding with a jumper and free throw shot, tying the game at 18-18 with 4:35 left to play.
The Eagles broke the tie and extended their lead to 23-18 in the next minute, until Shannon Kingery (West Hills, CA), Nicole Nitake (Torrance, CA), and Lena Rivera (Allen, TX) rallied the Lady Mustangs past the Eagles, giving them a single point advantage (24-23) with 2:27 remaining. Marshall extended TMC’s lead to 27-25, draining two jumpers, sandwiching an Abby Chapman basket.
With 34 seconds left in the first half, the Eagles spoiled the Lady Mustangs’ hopes of a half-time lead as Becca DeVere drove in a layup bringing the score to 27-27
At intermission, Marshall led the Lady Mustangs in scoring with 10 points, and in rebounds and blocks with four each. TMC went 11-29 from the field (38%), and was highlighted by going 4-5 behind the line (80%). Notably, Marshall scored all aforementioned free throws.
After the break, the Lady Mustangs broke the tie with Whitney Best nailing a jumper in the first 20 seconds, giving TMC an early 29-27 advantage. The Eagles spawned another tie with an Adijat Adams jumper, but were forced to play catch-up as TMC keyed an 11-2 run, fueled by Marshall, Best, Rivera, Iverson, and freshmen stand-out Kelly Burns (Yorba Linda, CA), bringing the score to 40-31, with 10:16 left to play.
The Eagles slowly, but surely, chipped away at the Lady Mustangs lead in the next four minutes, tying the game at 43-43.
Unfortunately, the Lady Mustangs failed to clip the Eagles’ wings, as Biola maintained the lead for the rest of the evening. With 1:22 left on the clock, Burns posted a jumper that cut the Eagles’ lead to one, bringing the score to 50-49. But, as Eagles do, Biola soared over TMC in a final 6-2 run, putting the nail in the coffin at 56-51.
Marshall ended the night with a double-double, backed by 14 points and 11 rebounds. Rivera also posted 14 points, was perfect behind the line (4-4), and led the squad with five steals and four assists.
Because of their spectacular 25-4 regular season record, the Lady Mustangs earned an at-large bid in the 2013 NAIA National Tournament, held in Frankfort, Kentucky from March 13-19. The Lady Mustangs now patiently wait for March 7, where they will then find out who they will face in the opening round of the National Tournament.