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TMC basketball drops NAIA opener

Posted: March 19, 2014 12:56 p.m.
Updated: March 19, 2014 12:56 p.m.
 

For the second year in a row, The Master’s College women’s basketball team entered the national tournament with high hopes only to see them come crashing down much earlier than expected.

TMC’s strong season came to a close with an 82-67 loss to Bethel College of Tennessee in the opening round of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National tournament on Wednesday morning in Frankfort, Ky.

“It’s really disappointing more so just because I love coaching this team and I really wanted to coach them a few more games,” said TMC head coach Dan Waldeck.

It was the second straight year TMC lost in the first round of the NAIA tourney while playing as a better seed as its opponent. The TMC Mustangs (24-9) entered this year’s tournament as a No. 2 seed in their side of the bracket playing against the No. 7 seed Bethel (22-10).

Last year, the Mustangs were a 3 seed playing against a No. 6.

On Wednesday, in a game that tipped off at 10:15 a.m. in Frankfort, things seemed to be going as planned when TMC led 41-37 at halftime and continued to keep the score tight for the first portion of the second half.

But the game slowly started to slip away from the Mustangs, who shot an ice cold 25 percent from the field in the second half to end up at 38 percent for the game.

At the same time, Bethel’s shots were falling, particularly from long range. Bethel connected on 11-of-26 three-point attempts.

“It was one of those games where they hit shots and then I thought it put a little bit of pressure on us, enough to cause us to rush a little bit,” Waldeck said.

Jacquelyn Marshall led TMC with 20 points and Megan Lindsley was the Mustangs’ only other player to score in double figures with 12.

Bethel was led by Tayla Foster’s 32-point, 10-rebound performance while her teammate Porsha Harris tacked on 14 points and 15 rebounds.

A big factor in the game was Bethel’s 53 total rebounds, 23 of them on offense.

The Mustangs struggled to match the physical play of a Bethel team that Waldeck said was underrated coming into the game.

Wednesday’s was TMC’s ninth NAIA tournament appearance in program history.

It caps off another impressive season in which the Mustangs finished tied for second in the competitive Golden State Athletic Conference and spent a good portion of the season ranked among the top 10 in the NAIA Division I national rankings.

Marshall was one of two senior starters on the team whose college career came to a close, along with four-year player Zoe Scott.

“We’re excited. Obviously losing Jacqui and Zoe is a big loss. You don’t just replace kids like that. We are excited about the kids we have coming in. We’re excited about our returners,” Waldeck said.

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