Game Recap By Don Gilmore, TMU Assistant SID
When coach Dan Waldeck called this one of the best defensive performance he’s seen in more than a decade with the program, he wasn’t embellishing.
He didn’t need to.
Posting a shutout in one quarter and playing relentless defense throughout, the No. 21 Lady Mustangs cruised to a 65-21 win over No. 11 Menlo Saturday afternoon on Bross Court.
The win was the club’s fourth over a ranked opponent this season and vaulted the Mustangs (12-4 overall, 5-1 GSAC) into a first-place tie in the conference with No. 15 Westmont.
“I’m extremely pleased with how we brought 40 minutes of great basketball today,” Waldeck said. “Our defense was disruptive and consistent.”
That defense was disruptive to the point of keeping the Oaks off the scoreboard in the second quarter, allowing no more than nine points in any of the four stanzas, and limiting Menlo to 16.4 percent shooting for the game.
The Mustangs have held half a dozen conference opponents to an average of just under 48 points per game.
That trend was evident early against the Oaks as TMU scored the game’s first 10 points and led 17-9 after one quarter.
Sophomore Rebekah Throns‘ three-pointer sparked the early surge and freshman Stephanie Soares capped it with a three-point play with 6:04 left in the stanza.
Sophomore Tristen Coltom‘s trey just over three minutes later extended the margin to 12 points (17-5) and the Mustangs enjoyed the eight-point margin after shooting 50 percent from the field during the opening 10 minutes.
They limited the Oaks to 30.8 percent accuracy in the quarter, which turned out to be their best mark of the evening.
They failed to make a shot in the second quarter and for the second time this season the Mustangs shut out an opponent in a stanza.
On Dec. 6, the Mustangs held Hope International without a point in the third quarter of a 76-47 victory.
The Mustangs tallied 14 points in the quarter and led 31-9 at halftime.
Five Mustangs scored in the stanza with Hannah Forrar‘s five points leading the way.
“To see our resolve on display encouraged our staff and I thought we received amazing contributions up and down the lineup,” Waldeck said.
On an evening when defense took the spotlight, the offense shone in the third quarter as the Mustangs converted just under 54 percent of their attempts from the field en route to 19 points and a 50-17 lead.
Sophomore Anika Neuman scored eight of her dozen points in the quarter.
Enjoying a comfortable lead entering the fourth quarter, the Mustangs refused to take their foot off the defensive pedal.
Capping off a stingy evening, the club allowed the Oaks just one field goal over the final 10 minutes and kept Menlo off the scoreboard during the final 5:42.
Seven Mustangs scored at least five points with Soares (13) and Neuman (12) combining for 25.
Soares’ game-high 13 rebounds led a 62-28 advantage on the boards for the Mustangs and was half of her 12th double-double of the campaign.
Rebekah Throns and Jessica Soares took down eight rebounds apiece.
“To compete and win games in the GSAC this year is extremely difficult,” Waldeck said. “So, we are thankful for a great team win against an elite opponent. We’ll get some needed rest this weekend as we ramp up for another big week of games.”
The first of those contests is a non-conference one against Bethesda on Tuesday (5:30 p.m. start) before the Mustangs host Westmont in a crucial matchup next Saturday evening.