SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The score was tied at 67-67 when the 11th-ranked Westmont women’s basketball team corralled an offensive rebound with 34 seconds left and called timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the 20th-ranked Lady Mustangs of The Master’s College women’s basketball team played great defense and forced a turnover on the baseline just before the shot clock expired.
The Lady Mustangs then had to go the length of the court with seven seconds remaining. With no pressure in the back court, TMC inbounded to Whitney Best who picked up the ball near the division line and dribbled into the front court. After two perimeter passes 25 feet from the basket, it appeared the Lady Mustangs would not get a shot attempt off in time.
That is, until Olivia Thompson (Huntington Beach, CA) shot-putted the ball in a non-traditional motion across her body toward the basket.
As the line drive was in the air, the horn sounded and the backboard light illuminated.
Then the improbable happened. The ball went directly into the basket.
One referee put both hands in the air. Another referee mirrored his signal to confirm that the shot was good. The 67-67 tie was broken by the hurried and awkward three-pointer. Murchison Gym went silent. All stood still in stunned unbelief, except for 12 players and two coaches from the Lady Mustangs’ bench who briefly celebrated on Kammerer Court, just feet away from where Thompson released her miracle shot.
“We played with great poise and togetherness tonight,” commented head coach Dan Waldeck on the upset. “I’m so proud of the progress we are making. Most people will focus on the shot at the buzzer, but I believe that it was our character that didn’t get rattled as Westmont made their run. It’s a bummer that either team should get a loss. Westmont is an excellent team, and we’ll enjoy escaping with a victory tonight. But, we will focus forward to competing on Saturday against an excellent Vanguard team.”
Westmont’s run that Waldeck was alluding to started when the Lady Mustangs posted an evening-high 10-point lead (46-36), off a Best jumper with 12:26 left in the game. The Warriors answered back by methodically chopping away at TMC’s lead by posting an impressive 22-12 run. From there, the two teams battled to the 67-67 tie at the 1:04 mark which segued to TMC’s dramatic three-point finish.
With the win, which was TMC’s first conference victory of the year, the Lady Mustangs’ record improves to 7-3 and 1-1 in GSAC play.
Attesting to a true team effort, Best led all scorers with 19 points while Megan Lindsley (Vancouver, WA) followed with 14. Bianca Cubello (Riverside, CA), Arianna Hanson (Santa Rosa, CA), and Chayan Lowery (Spring Valley, CA) each yanked down 4 rebounds. As a team, the Lady Mustangs finished the night by going 27-56 (48.2%) from the field, 5-12 (41.7%) on three-pointer attempts, and 11-13 (84.6%) from the free throw line.
Now the Lady Mustangs set their sights on Saturday’s game against the third-ranked Vanguard Lions. Currently, the Lions boast a spotless 5-0 overall record and are 2-0 in GSAC play.
Tipoff is set for 5:30 PM at Bross Court.