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TMC women gain steam

The Mustangs take care of Westmont to claim their third straight victory

Posted: February 13, 2010 9:54 p.m.
Updated: February 14, 2010 4:30 a.m.

The Master's College's Lena Rivera (14) looks to pass as Westmont defenders Jessica Case (13)and Alisha Heglund surround her on Saturday at Bross Gym.

 

The bid for The Master’s College women’s basketball team to improve on last year’s sixth-place finish in the Golden State Athletic Conference took a big step forward with a 76-54 win over Westmont College on Saturday at Bross Gym.

The improvement plan of Mustangs’ second-year head coach Dan Waldeck has relied heavily on the players’ ability to adjust to relatively new schemes on both sides of the ball.

He said it’s resulted in some inconsistency early in the season and a rough start for the Mustangs (14-9, 9-6).

But everything seemed to be clicking against Westmont (15-8, 8-7).

“I thought the difference this time was our defense,” Waldeck said, alluding to the team’s 85-76 win over Westmont in Santa Barbara on Jan. 9. “It’s a huge win for us. For us to get separation is huge, and the next three games are going to be big for us.”

Coming into Saturday’s game, both teams were tied for fifth in the GSAC.

But TMC got itself some separation early on and never looked back in the rematch.

The Mustangs raced out to a 7-0 lead behind a pair of steals by junior point guard Erica Inge that led to 3-pointers by Jenna Reed and Annie Gillespie.

TMC had mixed success raising the tempo with a fullcourt press early on, forcing 12 turnovers in the first half but also turning it over 11 times.

Warriors center Alisha Heglund gave the Mustangs’ frontcourt trouble inside with 10 points and eight rebounds.

But it didn’t matter, as the Mustangs were on fire from beyond the arc all night.

They shot 55 percent from 3-point territory and 48 percent from the field through the first 20 minutes.

TMC went ahead 26-11 with seven minutes left in the first half, thanks to 3-pointers from five different Mustangs, before Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore needed a timeout.

Westmont answered with a run that brought the team within nine a couple of times, but another pair of steals by Inge helped the Mustangs take a 39-26 halftime lead.

“Our team chemistry is great right now. Everyone is finally really buying into our offense,” Gillespie said. “It was always there, but now we’re finally doing the things we need to do and it’s making things happen for us on offense.”

And the shots kept falling for TMC in the second half.

Gillespie’s second 3-pointer made it 50-28 with 15 minutes left before Westmont’s coach needed another break, but it didn’t help the shots go in for the Warriors. They only shot 27 percent from the floor on the night, while the Mustangs hit nearly 50 percent.

“We struggled a lot on offense tonight to get anything going,” Moore said. “But give credit to Master’s. They hit their open shots and really dictated the pace of the game tonight.”

Reed’s 15th point put TMC up 62-33 with seven and a half minutes left. Shortly thereafter, TMC forward Brittany Henderson picked up her 15th point at the free-throw line as Westmont picked up its seventh team foul.

From there, the Mustangs cruised to victory. Reed finished with a team-high 17 points, Henderson added 15 points and 11 rebounds and Inge added seven points, seven assists and four steals.

TMC was coming off a pair of tough Golden State Athletic Conference road wins against San Diego Christian and Concordia, respectively.

 

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