Game Recap By Don Gilmore, TMU Assistant SID
This was the kind of outing coach Dan Waldeck believes Brooke Bailey is capable of every time she takes the floor.
Tuesday, the junior guard made five of the eight three-pointers she attempted, helping lead the No. 21-ranked Mustangs to a 94-43 win over Bethesda University at TMU.
Master’s improved to 13-4 overall with its fifth straight victory.
“Coach tells me to keep shooting,” said Bailey, who finished with 15 points as one of five Mustangs in double figures. “He tells everyone that numbers come around. I went into the game believing in myself and went out there and didn’t think about it.”
Bailey’s belief paid off in her best outing of the year. Looking like the player who last season paced the club in three-point shooting, Bailey drained three of her season-high five three-pointers before halftime.
“She just remembered who she was tonight,” Waldeck said. “She is one of the best shooters we’ve had. Tonight she played like it.”
In the second quarter, Bailey buried back-to-back treys that were part of a decisive 20-0 run, extending the Mustangs’ lead to 49-15 at the break.
Stephanie Soares, who earlier in the day was named NAIA Division 1 Player of the Week, scored nine of her game-high 19 points before the half. She finished with 14 rebounds and nine blocks, securing her 13th double-double of the season and narrowly missing a triple-double.
The nation’s seventh-stingiest defense (allowing just over 53 points per game entering the night) held the Flames to two points on 1-of-11 shooting from the field in the second quarter.
The Mustangs forced eight turnovers in the period and converted those into nine points.
There was no letup in the third quarter where the club’s ability to score from anywhere was on display.
With Soares scoring at will in the post and Bailey draining two of her threes, the Mustangs ran away and hid, leading 75-25 at the end of three.
“I think we moved the ball very well, inside-out,” Bailey said. “Everyone was generous in the way they played. I think we executed pretty well.”
The Mustangs were generous to the point of a season-high 28 assists on 36 baskets. Sophomore Tristen Coltom handed out a game-high five.
Bailey’s offensive production was part of a 47-point performance from Waldeck’s bench that included 10 points from junior guard Hannah Ostrom.
Starters Anika Neuman and Hannah Forrar scored 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Waldeck will need that effort at both ends of the court Saturday evening when the Mustangs and No. 15 Westmont College collide in a matchup of two of the nation’s premier defenses.
The defending GSAC regular-season and tournament champions, and national runner-up last year, Westmont sits one spot ahead of the Mustangs nationally in terms of scoring defense.
“The main focus tonight was to work on a couple things, to take steps forward,” Waldeck said. “I think we accomplished that. We were glad to get some needed minutes for our whole roster, so now we’ll look toward preparing for a challenging game on Saturday.”