By TMU Sports Information
The Master’s University women’s basketball team beat Menlo College 68-65 in the GSAC Tournament quarterfinal in Phoenix on Friday afternoon, advancing to the semifinals.
Survive and advance.
This has become a slogan of many collegiate basketball teams in the month of March. Coaches, players, and fans alike have little care for how the job is accomplished, as long as they continue playing.
This may not have been more true for TMU’s women’s hoops aces in Phoenix.
The Mustangs shot just 36.2 percent from the field and missed 15 free throws during the contest. But when the final horn sounded, the Mustangs found themselves victorious by a final score of 68-65.
Nine of those missed free throws occurred during the last 3:59 of play, but the Lady Mustangs were able to hold on in a tense finish.
TMU led by 10 points with 4:34 to play, buoyed by eight three-pointers during the first three and a half quarters. But then things began to get dicey as the Oaks cut the deficit to just two with less than 20 seconds remaining.
It appeared that Menlo had tied the game when Alexis Delovio hit a runner in the lane with four ticks left on the clock.
However, she was whistled for a traveling violation to negate the basket. After the Mustangs made one of two free throws, a desperation 70-foot heave from the Oaks was offline and TMU breathed a sigh of relief.
Three Lady Mustangs led the way in the scoring column with double digits. Brooke Bailey scored 13 of her team-high 19 points after intermission while Hannah Ostrom added 15 and Hannah Forrar chipped in with 10 important points.
The Mustangs offset their low shooting percentage with 16 offensive rebounds as well as the makes from beyond the arc. TMU outrebounded the higher-seeded Oaks by eight which flipped the script from the previous two matchups with Menlo.
During the regular season, the Mustangs were outrebounded in each of those contests. A key focus point for the Mustangs coming into this matchup was defense. TMU won when they held Menlo to 50 points in a February game, but they gave up 84 points in a January loss to The Oaks.
“I am very proud of the way we fought from beginning to end,” said 10th-year head coach Dan Waldeck. “We played free and together. It was a huge win for us and I’m extremely excited for these ladies.”
When asked specifically about Bailey’s performance, Waldeck said, “(Her performance) was enormous. She recognized that we needed to play with more flow to help us play more aggressively. I am proud of (all) my kids. They fought hard.”
The Mustangs had a very balanced effort as Waldeck went 10 deep on his roster, allowing no athlete to play for more than 25 minutes and trusting the entirety of his team to contribute.
This will be a very important factor as the Lady Mustangs had less than a 24-hour turnaround to face top-seeded and regular season GSAC champion, Westmont.