Game Recap By Don Gilmore, TMU Assistant Sports Editor
What a difference a day makes.
Thursday, The Master’s University shot 29 percent from the field, rallied, and then lost the lead late in a defeat at the University of Providence.
On Friday, the Mustangs trailed almost all the way through three quarters, rallied in the fourth, and held on to down No. 7 Carroll 61-56 in Helena, Montana.
“Wow. That’s an amazing win,” said Mustang head coach Dan Waldeck. “There were countless times in that game where we could have rolled over, but we banded together even tighter and came through when it mattered most.”
Winning the finale of a three-game trip in Montana, No. 14 The Master’s is now 2-1.
It wasn’t easy.
Suffering through 33 percent shooting and turning the ball over 11 times, the Mustangs trailed the Saints 11-6 after the opening 10 minutes.
The shooting improved just a bit and they took care of the ball better in the second stanza. However, the Mustangs watched the Saints build a 23-10 lead before ripping off the final eight points of the quarter to trail by five at halftime.
Freshman center Stephanie Soares fueled the run with a basket and added a free throw while Hannah Forrar added a hoop, and Rebekah Throns drained a three-pointer to cap it off.
After shooting just 35 percent (7-20) from the field and turning the ball over 16 times in the first half, the Mustangs were fortunate to still be in the game.
It was more than fortune, though. A stingy defense, paced by Tristen Coltom and Jamilee Iddings, held the Saints to just 28.1 percent accuracy over the first 20 minutes.
“I thought Tristen’s and Jamie’s defense and fearlessness showed up huge tonight for us,” said Waldeck.
Big changes were in the store on the other side of the break although it wasn’t evident right away on the scoreboard.
The Saints regained the momentum they had lost in the last three minutes of the second quarter, using an 11-5 burst to move in front 34-23 with 6:23 left in the third.
Less than two minutes later, they led 37-26 before the game changed.
Iddings drilled a three-pointer to ignite a 10-0 burst that Sabrina Thompson finished off with a basket and the Mustangs were within one.
They trailed 41-40 at the end of three.
The Mustangs pulled even at 44-all on a Brooke Bailey trey with 7:58 remaining, fell behind again and then used six straight points to move in front 52-50 at the 3:26 mark.
The Saints responded just over 90 seconds with a three-pointer of their own to go back in front 53-52.
In a quarter that featured a trio of lead changes, the Mustangs produced the final one when Hannah Forrar, who scored a game-high 12 points, hit a basket in the paint with 1:34 left to vault The Master’s back in front, 54-53.
The Mustangs never trailed again.
Forrar, Bailey, and Rebekah Throns saw to that.
Bailey converted a three-point play, Forrar added two free throws, and Throns iced the win with two more charity tosses with 17 seconds remaining.
After scoring just 18 points in the first half, the Mustangs put up 43 over the final 20 minutes, using 63.6% shooting from the field, including 5-of-7 from behind the arc, and perfect free throw accuracy (10-10).
Bailey, Soares, and Throns, who pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, complemented Forrar’s game-high total with nine points apiece while Thompson added eight more.
“The ceiling is high for this group,” Waldeck said. “To play three games in four days (all true road games), driving through ice and snow, and finding ways to prepare quickly and bring focus speaks to the direction we are headed.”
Here’s the box score.
And, the Mustangs are headed back to Southern California to enjoy nearly a week off before hosting Westcliff in their home opener next Friday evening.