By Mason Nesbitt, TMU Sports Information Director
The track record says the tactic should work.
Early in conference play, The Master’s University women’s basketball team struggled to defend and rebound, so it worked tirelessly on those areas in practice.
The result: TMU has held eight of its last 10 opponents to 62 or fewer points.
Now, Master’s (17-7, 6-5 in Golden State Athletic Conference) seems to have lost a bit of its offensive mojo. So, what did coach Dan Waldeck do?
“A lot of scrimmaging, a ton of half court and even full court scrimmaging,” said Waldeck, who needs one more win to reach 200 for his career. “We’re just trying to get some flow. Sometimes it’s there. Sometimes it’s not.”
TMU hopes it’s there Saturday evening when it takes on No. 4 Westmont College in Santa Barbara at 5:30 p.m.
The Mustangs lost to the Warriors 62-56 on Jan. 20 in a game they outrebounded a taller Westmont squad, 54-43.
Waldeck said TMU can’t count on pulling down 31 offensive rebounds again.
“I’m sure they’ll be focused on it,” he said. “So we’re going to have to be a lot more efficient offensively.”
The Mustangs will also have to make 6-foot-1 Lauren McCoy and 6-3 Morgan Haskin uncomfortable. The duo combined for 36 points and 15 rebounds in the last meeting.
“You have to make things difficult,” Waldeck said. “You have to try and keep them to one shot and make them shoot a little farther away from the hoop than they’re comfortable with and make them shoot in traffic.”
Waldeck feels the Mustangs have enough length to bother Westmont’s trees. The challenge, he said, will be to continue scoring at a high clip with a bigger lineup on the floor.
A player who’s had no problem scoring lately is sophomore Hannah Ostrom. The guard started last season but saw her confidence dip in her second campaign – until recently, that is.
She’s scored in double figures in three straight games (17, 14, 11).
“For her, it’s more about re-finding her confidence,” Waldeck said. “I’m a firm believer that who you are will show up. Players go through slumps – peaks and valleys. She was in a pretty tough slump, but I thought she stuck with it and put in a lot of extra work and is coming out of it now. She started to relax.”
As for win No. 200, Waldeck said he hasn’t given it any thought.
“I just care about the next win,” Waldeck said.
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