It took all of 20 minutes Tuesday evening for The Master’s College women’s basketball team to purge itself of the bad taste left from Saturday’s loss at Hope International. At least, that’s the way it appeared.
Unfortunately, for the Mustangs, they had another half to play against Concordia and over those final 20 minutes they could only watch as the host Eagles steamrolled right over them, tallying a jaw-dropping 63 points en route to an 83-73 win.
The discouraging loss was the Mustangs’ fourth in their past five games and dropped them to 1-4 in the GSAC and 8-9 overall.
Resolved to bounce back from the 73-64 defeat at Hope International, the Mustangs came out firing, scoring the game’s first 14 points. Lena Rivera ignited the game-opening burst with a three-point play and Zoe Scott’s layup with 15:06 remaining in the half capped things off. In between, the Mustangs received valuable contributions from new starters, Kaylynn Martin and Lindsey Levanen.
The Eagles finally broke through on an Abby Lange layup with 14:26 remaining and carved further into the deficit with a 9-3 spurt, closing to 17-9 three minutes later on a Lange jumper.
But, the Mustangs responded with a 10-4 skein over the next four minutes, led by first-time starter Kimmy Iverson. The junior wing drained a pair of three-pointers in the middle of the run that Whitney Best finished off with a layup for a 27-13 lead with 7:32 left in the half.
And, the Mustangs were not finished. After the Eagles sliced the deficit to ten points (28-18) on two Elisha Taylor free throws with 3:07 showing on the clock, the Mustangs countered with eight consecutive points, forging a game-high 18-point (36-18) lead. Another Iverson three-ball keyed the run, Lauren Labat added three points, and Levanen scored on a layup.
The Eagles scored the final two points of the half but it didn’t seem to matter as the Mustangs were in complete control. They had built the advantage on 56.5% shooting from the field while limiting the Eagles to a measly 22%. Iverson paced all scorers with nine points.
With the start of the second half, things started to turn around quickly. After a Martin free throw gave the Mustangs a 37-22 lead, the Eagles reeled off nine straight points to get back in it. The hosts continued to whittle away, pulling to within three points (40-37) at the 15:12 mark.
Sparked by four Best free throws and consecutive three-pointers from Ella Joines, the Mustangs regained their composure and a double-digit, extending the advantage to 50-37 in a two-minute window.
They were still up 52-39 with 12:16 remaining when the Eagles came flying at them again. This time, there would be little resistance from the Mustangs. In just under four minutes, the hosts outscored the Mustangs 20-7, catching them at 59 with 8:13 left.
The tying bucket started a 12-0 run that put the game away, turning a 13-point deficit into a nine-point lead (68-59) in just over seven minutes. Although the Mustangs closed to 70-64 on a Best trifecta with 4:14 left, they didn’t have enough left as the Eagles lengthened the advantage into double digits down the stretch and cruised home for the win.
After singing the nets in the first half, the Mustangs went cold over the final 20 minutes, hitting at a 27% clip while the Eagles rebounded with a 50% showing.
Best led three Mustang scorers in double figures with 16 points while Scott and Labat finished with 10 points apiece.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Mustangs as they return home Saturday evening to host 10th-ranked Vanguard in a 5:30pm start in Bross Gym.
Around the GSAC on January 10th
Westmont 56, Biola (H) 47*
Vanguard 74, San Diego Christian (H) 66*
Azusa Pacific 99, Fresno Pacific (H) 89*
Point Loma Nazarene 64, Hope International (H) 63*
Concordia (H) 83, The Masters 73*