Lexi Hernandez scored 11 points in the final 3:03 of the game, but it wasn’t enough as The Master’s University lost 85-77 to Hope International in Fullerton Saturday night.
The Lady Mustangs led 33-13 at the end of the first quarter, thanks to four 3-pointers by Ella Brubaker, and shot 11-of-18 (61%) during those first 10 minutes. But the game ends after 40 minutes, and over the final three quarters the Royals outscored TMU 72-44 to get the eight-point win.
“We played probably our best quarter of the year to start the game,” said head coach Lisa Zamroz. “After we ballooned our lead to 20 we lost our intensity and they took advantage. Bottom line, we have to find a way to get stops defensively. We continue to struggle staying in front of the offensive player. When we can be more consistent on the defensive end we’ll start to learn how to close games.”
After giving up the lead with 1:01 to play in the third quarter, and falling behind by as much as 11 in the fourth, The Master’s (8-2, 3-2 in GSAC) never stopped fighting and closed to within four with 1:24 to play behind the strong low-post play of Lexi Hernandez. But the Royals made their free throws down the stretch to keep The Master’s at bay.
Brubaker scored 25 in the first half but was held to just eight in the second to lead the Lady Mustangs with 33 points. It was the third game in the last seven the sophomore All-American has scored more than 30 points.
Lexi Hernandez finished with a career-high 20 points and Belle Hernandez booked a double-double, getting 11 points and leading the team with 11 rebounds.
“Ella and Belle were a really nice one-two punch to get us going,” Zamroz said. “We challenged Lexi at half to be assertive on the block and she responded in a big way.”
The Master’s will be back home on Thursday as they take on the University of Antelope Valley in a non-conference game in The MacArthur Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.