Long before Wednesday’s 71-47 win over Cal Lutheran University, coach Dan Waldeck had little doubt about The Master’s University’s ability to shoot.
He foresaw Hannah Forrar taking steps – leaps and bounds, really – forward on offense as a sophomore. He’d seen what Hannah Ostrom and Brooke Bailey could do from behind the arc. He knew Sabrina Thompson had honed one of the program’s best midrange jumpers.
But, did the coach know the Mustangs would be this good – leading the nation in 3-pointers made per game good? Hovering near the top of the NAIA in field goal percentage good?
“Gosh, I thought we would have some kids who can shoot,” Waldeck said. “But did I think we’d be a team that when we have a bad shooting night we still shoot 40 percent from three and 48 percent from the field? No.”
The Mustangs (6-1) made 5-of-8 three-point attempts after halftime Wednesday to get to 40 percent for the game. Talented freshman Rebekah Throns hit two of them, even if reluctantly.
“Sometimes I feel like it’s not my job (to hit threes),” said Throns, who finished with eight points, four rebounds and three steals. “I’m more of the person who gets them the ball to shoot the threes.”
Waldeck wants the 6-foot-1 Throns to look for her own shot. Her teammates second that notion.
“Rebekah is a scorer and an amazing defender,” said Thompson, who finished with eight points and five rebounds. “We all have so much belief in her, so we get super stoked when she’s aggressive because that is a key for our team.”
So too is Forrar, who scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
It was the fifth time this season she led the team in scoring after averaging just 5.7 points per game during an up-and-down, injury-riddled freshman campaign.
Wednesday held no such plot twists.
Master’s never trailed and built a 20-5 lead after the first quarter, going up 35-18 at the break.
The Mustangs led by as many as 33 in the fourth quarter and held the Regals to 28 percent shooting for the game.
Kailee Yan led Cal Lutheran with 14 points. Anika Neuman, Jamilee Iddings and Bailey had nine each for The Master’s, which has beaten the Regals in each of the last three years now.
The latest came in game six of a seven game homestand. The Mustangs have won all six and will go for a clean sweep Saturday when they host Southern Oregon at noon.
“We’ll get challenged on Saturday,” Waldeck said. “They pressure like crazy and will try to turn us over, so we’re going to have to take care of it.”
The Mustangs’ 71 points was a tick below their season average of 75. But the Regals’ 47 points represented TMU’s best defense outing of the season. Master’s had held opponents to 24% shooting from behind the arc before the game, the ninth best mark in the country for NAIA Division 1 programs. Cal Lutheran managed just 16 percent.
“We have a long way to go, but I’m proud of our start,” Waldeck said.