In stark contrast to its previous two games at the Biola Holiday Classic, The Master’s College women’s basketball team led only once and fell 61-44 to Westminster of Utah Friday afternoon in La Mirada.
Wrapping up play in the three-day Holiday Classic, the Mustangs lost for the second time and fell back to the .500 mark (7-7) for the first time since November 19. It was the club’s lowest-scoring output of the 2011-12 campaign.
It happened in convincing fashion as the Griffins turned the tables on a Mustang squad t leadhat had built double-digit leads in a win over Hastings of Nebraska and in a loss to Kansas Wesleyan.
However, it didn’t happen quickly either as the clubs engaged in a tightly-fought contest for most of the opening 20 minutes. No more than two points separated the squads over the first five minutes and four ties were produced.
The first sign of the Griffins’ dominance came when they unlocked an 8-all game with a 10-2 burst for a 19-10 lead with 11 minutes left in the first half. It was keyed by a stingy defense that kept the Mustangs off the board for over four minutes.
But, the Mustangs didn’t stay down for long. Down 22-13, a Whitney Best trifecta spurred a 9-3 spurt that sliced the deficit to 25-22. During the run, Best was supported by Kaylynn Martin, who sandwiched a pair of buckets around a Lindsey Levanen jumper.
That Martin basket came with four minutes left in the opening half and then the well went dry. Going scoreless the rest of the period while watching the Griffins reel off seven straight points, the Mustangs found themselves down 32-22 at halftime.
The Mustangs’ first-half shooting percentage (29.6%) reflected the club’s two, first-half scoring droughts. Best had eight points while Martin and Lena Rivera chipped in with six points apiece.
A Best three-pointer 17 seconds into play was an encouraging way to start the second half but the good times were about to come to an end.
It started with a 14-4 Griffin spurt in a 9:35 span that pushed the advantage into double figures (46-29) where it stayed the rest of the way. The margin reached a game-high 20 points twice (53-33, 55-35) and the Mustangs got no closer than 15 points (57-42) when Lauren Labat drained a three-pointer with 2:22 left to play.
The Mustangs managed just six field goals in the second half and wound up shooting 28.6% from the field in the second half, and 29.2% (14-48) for the game. They did go 12-14 from the line, including an 8-8 showing over the final 20 minutes.
Best led all scorers with 15 points and was the lone Mustang in double figures. Morgan Schwegler yanked down a game-high seven rebounds.
Following three non-conference games at the Classic, the Mustangs now turn their attention back to GSAC play. On Tuesday evening (January 3), the Mustangs (0-2 in the GSAC) will host Fresno Pacific (10-4 overall, 2-0 GSAC) in a 5:30pm start in Bross Gym.