March 19, 2014
Frankfort, KY – The Master’s College women’s basketball team’s season came to an unexpected halt Wednesday morning when the Bethel University Wildcats slashed the Lady Mustangs 82-67 in the first round of the NAIA National Tournament in the Frankfort Convention Center.
“Our team has accomplished a lot this year, and even though it's disappointing to lose in the first round, we know that one loss, one game, or one moment doesn't define us,” commented head coach Dan Waldeck. “These ladies have represented our school and program in a consistent way all season and I'm so proud of them. This was a special group and I’ll take the minutes and accomplishments of this season.”
Notably, it was the first upset of the tournament as the seventh-seeded Wildcats knocked off the second seeded Lady Mustangs.
The 10:15 A.M. Eastern Standard Time tipoff coupled with the Wildcats getting out to an early lead forced the Lady Mustangs to face an uphill battle from the start.
But, with 8:57 to play in the first half, TMC’s Nicole Nitake (Torrance, CA) drained a free throw that sparked a 6-1 run and brought the score to 25-19 with seven minutes on the clock.
And while the Wildcats clawed back with a 10 point run to regain the lead at 29-19 three minutes later, the Lady Mustangs fought back and tied the game 29-29 at the 3:55 mark when Megan Lindsley (Vancouver, WA) drained a crucial three-pointer.
From there, Lindsley bagged another three pointer followed by field goals from Kelly Burns (Yorba Linda) and Jacquelyn Marshall (San Clemente, CA), a trifecta from Zoe Scott (Spokane, WA), and a Whitney Best (Snohomish, WA) jumper gave the Lady Mustangs a 41-37 lead at the half.
At the break, TMC went 14-26 from the field (53%), 5-9 (55%) behind the arc, and 8-12 (66%) from the charity stripe. The Lady Mustangs yanked down 19 rebounds (2 offensive, 17 defensive) in the first half.
Leading TMC in scoring was Lindsley who drained 9 points, while Best led the squad in assists with 3 dimes.
Despite rocketing out to a 5-2 run that brought the score to 46-40 at the 17:41 mark, The Lady Mustangs had their hands full with a resurgent Wildcat squad who was determined to make a comeback.
With 13:50 left on the clock, the Wildcats regained the lead off a three pointer from Alisha Gentry that brought the score to 50-48.
At the 11:52 mark, Marshall gave the Lady Mustangs 54-52 advantage.
But, TMC’s lead was short-lived as the Wildcats rallied back and controlled the court for the rest of the game. When all was said and done, the Lady Mustangs fell to the Bethel Wildcats 67-82.
For the second straight year, the Lady Mustangs’ season concluded in the first round of the national tournament.
In her final game as a Lady Mustang, Marshall paced TMC by scoring by draining 20 points. Lindsley followed by scoring 12 more. Marshall and Bianca Cubello (Riverside, CA) each yanked down 8 boards, while Best tallied a team-high 8 assists.
As a team, the Lady Mustangs went 22-58 (37%) from the field, 15-22 (68%) behind the charity stripe, and 8-23 behind the arc (34%). TMC yanked down 41 total rebounds.
“Each piece of adversity in life can be used as a launching pad to greater things in the future,” further commented Waldeck. “I'm confident that these ladies will use this as a motivator and lesson for future life endeavors, whether on the court or in life.”
The Lady Mustangs will graduate Marshall and Scott. The senior duo led TMC to a 24-9 (10-4 GSAC) season and a second place finish in the conference.
Now, as the Lady Mustangs make their way back home from Kentucky, the team leaves with the confidence that they will be back competing this time next year for another shot at a national title.
To review the Lady Mustang’s 2013-14 season, click here.