Extra Work, Extra Disappointment
Coach Dan Waldeck doesn’t mind having his women’s basketball team work a little more to gain something worthwhile.
But when his Mustangs frittered away a lead they held most of the evening and then did a disappearing act in overtime to drop a 67-59 decision to Kansas Wesleyan Thursday afternoon, the extra five minutes didn’t seem worth it at all.
The loss to the NAIA Division II 12th-ranked Coyotes on the second day of the Biola Holiday Classic dropped the Mustangs to 7-6.
Similar to the previous day’s victory over Hastings of Nebraska, the Mustangs built a big lead, forging double-digit advantages in each half. Dissimilar to the win over the Broncos on Wednesday was the blowing of a 12-point lead that forced overtime and eventually a loss in overtime.
The Mustangs built a 13-point lead (30-17) in the first half and led 50-38 with just over eight minutes remaining. But, in those final minutes of regulation, the Mustangs managed only seven points while the Coyotes tallied 19, capped by a Stephanie Frost jumper with seven ticks left on the clock to tie the game at 57.
In the extra period, the Coyotes scored the first four points before a Kristen Huff free throw at the three-minute mark closed the deficit to 61-58. But, the Mustangs, who wound up not making a basket in overtime, managed only another charity toss, that by Whitney Best with 22 seconds left, the rest of the way while the Coyotes closed out the victory by going 4-4 from the line in the final 13 seconds.
The Coyotes’ closeout in regulation and overtime was quite a contrast to the opening 20 minutes of action when the Mustangs owned both ends of the court. After the Coyotes built an early 5-2 lead with 16:15 left in the half, the Mustang defense took over and fueled a run that eventually gave them that 13-point advantage.
Over the next 6:41, the Coyotes failed to score a point, missing five straight shots and committing eight turnovers as the Mustangs grabbed a 13-5 lead. Frost ended the drought on a layup with 9:24 remaining and no more than six points separated the clubs until about the five-minute mark.
That’s when the Mustangs created some more distance. This time it was fueled at the offensive end where they scored on four straight possessions in a 10-0 burst. Lena Rivera’s fast break basket triggered the run, Kimmy Iverson added a jumper in the paint, and consecutive three-pointers from Ella Joines capped things off as the Mustangs surged to a 30-17 lead.
The Coyotes tallied the final three points of the half but the Mustangs had all the momentum with a 10-point cushion at the break.
That padding didn’t last very long, though, as the Coyotes made a game of it in the opening minutes of the second half, outscoring the Mustangs 14-4 to knot the game at 34 with 15:37 left to play.
The contest was tied again at 36 a little over a minute later before the Mustangs produced another run, one that was keyed by little-used Kaylynn Martin. The sophomore guard, who had played only 30 minutes in five games, snapped the deadlock with a layup at 13:50, sending the Mustangs on their way to a 12-0 run. When Millie Rivera hit one of two free throws with 9:56 remaining, the Mustangs had a 48-36 advantage. After Millie’s sister, Lena, tallied on a layup just 1:44 later, the Mustangs had what appeared to be an insurmountable lead.
But, that’s when everything went south for the club. The Mustangs went 1-9 from the field during the rest of regulation while the Coyotes clawed their way back into the game.
In a disheartening defeat, Martin was the lone bright spot, scoring a career-best 13 points (5-9 from the field, 3-3 from the line) and handing out a team-high three assists in 27 minutes of play.
Joines was the only other Mustang in double figures, adding 10 more points.
The Mustangs close out play in the Holiday Classic on Thursday when they take on Westminster in La Mirada at 1:00.