By Don Gilmore, Assistant Sports Information Director
Tuesday night’s 93-37 rout of St. Katherine University was more than just a non-conference tune-up for the TMU women’s basketball team.
“We are using every moment to find the rhythm and identity that makes us Mustangs,” Coach Dan Waldeck said. “Tonight gave us a chance to work through different lineups that work best together.”
The Mustangs (12-4) are trying to fine-tune those things and more as they head into the meat of the Golden State Athletic Conference schedule, which includes Saturday’s home showdown against No. 12 Westmont.
Following a lackluster first quarter when the Mustangs allowed the Firebirds to hang around, TMU put the hammer down over the final three stanzas to cruise to its 10th non-conference win of the season.
The Mustangs never trailed in the contest; however, it took more time for them to create separation than Waldeck preferred.
“It took a little time, but I thought our defense got better as the game went on,” he said.
Up 13-11 with just over two minutes remaining in the opening stanza, the Mustangs used six straight points from freshman Rebekah Throns and a Jamilee Iddings three-pointer to close out on a 9-0 run.
Throns finished with game- and career-highs of 18 points and 16 rebounds. She added two blocks and two steals.
Iddings initiated the second quarter with another trey that finished off what turned out to be a 12-0 burst. It was just the beginning.
A Firebird bucket temporarily stopped the Mustangs. But subsequent 10-0 and 11-0 spurts put the game away.
Brooke Bailey contributed five points to the initial run, and Throns sank four free throws in the second one as the Mustangs took a 49-18 lead to halftime.
Over the opening 20 minutes, the Mustangs shot just over 47 percent from the field, and Throns already had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The Mustangs were almost as accurate in the second half and clamped down on the Firebirds.
Master’s started with the first six points of the third quarter and enjoyed its largest lead to that point, 55-18, following four straight points from Anika Neuman.
TMU led 66-33 after three quarters and pulled further away in the fourth.
The Firebirds didn’t score over the final 6:15, and the Mustangs tallied the final 19 points of the game.
Throns’ 18 points came on 7-of-12 shooting from the field. Her 16 rebounds fueled a 62-21 advantage on the boards.
Fellow freshman Jessica Soares notched her second double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Neuman went 5-of-6 from the field and 7-of-9 from the line on the way to 17 points while Hannah Ostrom added 13 more. Tristen Coltom was the fifth Mustang in double figures with 10 points.
Playing in her second game for the Mustangs, junior Hannah Throns, Rebekah’s sister, scored five points and pulled down five rebounds. She’s expected to be a steadying force on a young Mustang team.
Now, Master’s gets ready for Westmont. The Warriors are in a three-way tie for first place in the GSAC with a 3-1 record, one game ahead of the fifth-place Mustangs.
“We’ll need to be even more focused and disciplined on Saturday to compete with the Warriors,” Waldeck said.
Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Bross Court.