Game Recap By Don Gilmore, TMU Assistant SID
Less than 48 hours after a decisive third quarter helped The Master’s University beat Ottawa, the Mustangs had the tables turned on them Saturday afternoon.
No. 22 Arizona Christian outscored the Mustangs 14-6 in that pivotal stanza and used that to win 71-63 in a battle of NAIA Top 25 squads.
“ACU made key shots in the first half and after a miserable third quarter, it took too long to re-capture rhythm,” said TMU head coach Dan Waldeck.
A 2-12 performance from the field and seven turnovers contributed to Waldeck’s observation and led to a season-tying low for points (6) in a quarter for the club.
After three stanzas, the Mustangs trailed 52-41 and never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
That was at 60-54 with 3:48 left to play after sophomore Tristen Coltom drained a three-pointer.
The Firestorm answered with four straight points to build the advantage back into double digits and then finished off their win with five free throws in the final 45 seconds.
Splitting their GSAC games in Arizona, the 14th-ranked Mustangs fell to 5-3 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
If only the first quarter mattered, the Mustangs would have come back home with a 2-0 GSAC mark.
A 10-4 skein that featured eight straight points from sophomore Anika Neuman put the Mustangs up 14-8 with 3:47 left in the opening quarter.
Consecutive jumpers in the paint by freshman Stephanie Soares extended the advantage to 18-10 at the 2:07 mark before The Master’s settled for a 19-15 lead at the end of the quarter.
Soares had six of her team-high 18 points in the first stanza.
She was outdone by the Firestorm’s Makayla Enders. An All-GSAC choice last year, the senior scored seven in the quarter and then added five more in the second stanza as ACU caught and passed the Mustangs on the way to a 38-35 lead at halftime.
Enders finished with a game-high 24 points that featured a perfect 12-12 performance from the line.
Soares took down a game-high 13 rebounds, securing her fourth consecutive double-double.
Neuman was the only other Mustang in double figures, putting up 16 points.
Just under a month into the 2018-19 campaign, the Mustangs return to Southern California to prepare for their Thursday evening contest with Hope International.
“We have a long season ahead and I know the girls will find our identity soon,” Waldeck said.