INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Two days after their thrilling 59-57 victory over Loyola University (La.) in the NAIA Div. I Women’s Basketball National Championship First Round, the third-seeded Lady Mustangs of The Master’s College were handed a 55-62 loss to the second-seeded Campbellsville University Tigers, the defending national runner-up, in the tournament’s second round.
Friday’s loss concluded the seventh-ranked Lady Mustangs’ 2015-16 campaign at 25-6. Notably, TMC’s impressive record marks its eleventh 20-win season in program history. Of their 11 total trips to the national tournament, the Lady Mustangs now have a combined 7-11 record.
“We are all disappointed in the loss, but not in how we represented the Lord and what we accomplished this season,” commented TMC’s eighth-year head coach Dan Waldeck. “It was unfortunate that the officiating played such a major role in the game, but I thought that our resolve and togetherness kept us in striking distance. Campbellsville is a great team and they were able to make some key shots at key times.”
At the conclusion of the 2015-16 campaign, coach Waldeck has amassed 159 wins and 89 losses.
The first half of Friday’s close-scoring contest went back-and-forth as the Lady Mustangs and the Tigers combined for five ties and 11 lead changes.
TMC held a four-point lead (13-9) after Megan Lindsley (Vancouver, WA) drained a free throw with 4:02 left in the period. However, Campbellsville ended the first quarter with a 6-0 run and led the Lady Mustangs 15-13 heading into the second stanza.
In the second period, TMC outscored the Tigers 17-8 and entered halftime with a 30-23 lead after Chayan Lowery (Spring Valley, CA) drained a free throw with four seconds left to play.
At the end of the first half, the Lady Mustangs went 10-20 (50%) from the field, 3-6 (50%) from behind the line, and 7-12 (58%) from the charity stripe.
Unfortunately, the Lady Mustangs lost their seven-point lead as Campbellsville kicked off the third quarter with a 9-2 run, bringing the score to 33-32 with 6:20 left to play.
Despite a fervent defense displayed by TMC, the Lady Mustangs were unable to catch the Tigers as Campbellsville put the game on ice with its 62-55 victory.
After four close quarters (13-15, 8-17, 11-19, 14-20) TMC finished the game by going 19-42 (45%) from the field, 3-12 (25%) on three-pointers, and 14-22 (63%) on free throws. In their finale, the Lady Mustangs tallied 32 rebounds, 14 assists, eight blocks, and five steals.
Lowery notched her fifth double-double of the season by scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Also, Lindsley joined Lowery by scoring in double figures by draining 14 points. Nicole Nitake (Torrance, CA) paced TMC with five assists, while Lowery tallied six blocks.
Another notable stat was TMC’s trio of seniors (Shannon Kingery (West Hills, CA), Olivia Thompson (Huntington Beach, CA), and Nitake) were the first Lady Mustangs in program history to make four-straight appearances in the NAIA National Tournament.
“I’m thankful for our seniors and what they accomplished in their four years,” commented Waldeck. “They are an amazing legacy.”
Despite the abrupt halt to their season, the Lady Mustangs return back to Santa Clarita with their heads held high as they anticipate a strong 2016-17 season.
“Looking forward, we have an amazing recruiting class that is only going to make us more dangerous next year,” said Waldeck. “I believe that we will be in the national championship hunt again.”