March 13, 2013
Frankfort, KY -- Torrie Cahill scored a game-high 26 points and No. 23 Carroll College of Montana used scoring surges in each half to beat The Master's College 73-58 in an opening-round game of the 2013 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship at Frankfort, Kentucky.
The disappointing loss eliminated the 10th-ranked Lady Mustangs from the tournament and ended their season with a 25-6 record. After posting the program's most wins since the 2005-06 campaign (28-8), the Lady Mustangs lost in the first round of the tournament for the fourth time in eight appearances.
If the first seven minutes of play were any indication, it didn't appear that the Lady Mustangs were on their way to a loss. Sparked by a 6-0 burst and some stingy defense, the club galloped to an early 8-2 lead. A Jacquelyn Marshall (San Clemente, CA) three-pointer fueled the run, Millie Rivera (Allen, TX) added a free throw, and Kelly Burns (Yorba Linda, CA) capped it off with a basket at the 13:05 mark of the opening half.
That turned out to be the Lady Mustangs' largest lead of the game, one that evaporated over the next six and a half minutes as the Fighting Saints outscored TMC 15-4 in that span to take the lead for good. Cahill was right in the middle of that skein, tallying five points.
Down 17-12, the Lady Mustangs responded with three straight points on a Whitney Best (Snohomish, WA) hoop and a Millie Rivera free throw but they managed only three more points the rest of the half while Cahill scored her club's final six points to send the Saints to halftime ahead 25-18.
Over the opening 20 minutes, the Lady Mustangs shot just 28% (7-25) from the field, including a paltry 1-10 from behind the arc. Meanwhile, the Saints converted at a 36% (9-25) clip.
All of those numbers went up in the second half, especially for the Saints who hit seven of their first eight attempts in the final stanza, including a sizzling 5-5 from behind the arc, to turn a competitive game into a rout with a 20-4 run over the first 6:06 of play. When Carroll's Jordan Pfau drained the second of back-to-back three-pointers with 13:54 left to play, the Saints had built a 45-22 advantage.
The margin mushroomed to a game-high 24 points (50-26) before the Lady Mustangs finally got things going, playing their best basketball of the contest over the next three minutes. Triggered by a Theresa Brown (Eugene, OR) basket with 11:07 remaining, the Lady Mustangs put together a 16-3 run that pulled them to within 53-42 with 8:01 left in the game. Junior Zoe Scott (Spirit Lake, ID) tallied six of the skein's final eight points, burying a trifecta and then hitting all three free throws after being fouled on a shot from behind the arc.
Carroll's Megan Patterson temporarily halted the Lady Mustangs' rush with a trey for a 58-42, lead but the Lady Mustangs kept fighting, reeling off seven consecutive points in less than a minute to slice the deficit to nine points. Scott supplied most of the firepower, sandwiching five points, highlighted by her second three-pointer of the contest, around a Lena Rivera basket, to draw the Lady Mustangs within 58-49 with 4:15 left to play.
However, that proved to the team's last hurrah as the Saints scored six of the game's next nine points to lengthen the lead back into double figures where it stayed the rest of the way.
Almost all of the Saints' 48 second-half points were attributed to a red-hot offense that went 17-25 (68%) from the field, including a 6-9 showing from three-point land. Meanwhile, the Lady Mustangs improved with 36% (14-39) shooting but it wasn't nearly enough.
Playing in her final collegiate game, Lena Rivera tied Scott for team-high scoring honors with 13 points. Marshall was the only other Mustang in double figures, tallying 11 points and pulling down a team-best six rebounds.
The Lady Mustangs will graduate Rivera, Brown, and Iverson. The senior trio led TMC to a 25-6 (10-4 GSAC) season, a far cry from the 12-19 record (5-13 GSAC) it posted a year ago.
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 2012-13 season, click here.