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Success and the Successor

Waldeck looks to continue Mustangs’ winning ways

Posted: November 19, 2008 10:16 p.m.
Updated: November 20, 2008 4:54 a.m.

Morgan Schwegler of The Master's College shoots a free throw during Wednesday at Bross Gymnasium.

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Where Ken Sugarman left off, Dan Waldeck will try to follow.

Sugarman, who won seven Golden State Athletic Conference titles in his 13 years as The Master's College women's head basketball coach, resigned in June to take a job outside of basketball.

Waldeck was by his side all 13 years as an assistant coach.

Last season, the Mustangs reached the Sweet 16 of the NAIA Tournament, just two seasons after reaching the Final Four.

"I want to keep the legacy going," Waldeck said. "Our program's about everyone, it's not about one guy. I want to be a mentor to my athletes and to instill character traits for them later in life."

Waldeck, a The Master's College graduate who lives with his wife and two children in Santa Clarita, already has a big victory under his belt.

On Nov. 5, TMC beat NCAA Division I Cal-State Northridge in an exhibition game at CSUN, 88-77. Five Mustangs were in double figures, including forward Annie Gillespie and guard Jenni Ritter. Both scored 18 points.

"We've been wanting that for a few years," Gillespie said. "We showed we can compete with anybody."

The attack that helped the Mustangs beat CSUN and start 4-2 this season will be similar to that of Sugarman's.

Waldeck described it as a five-guard setup.

"System-wise, we're real similar," Waldeck said. "We stress playing uptempo. We have a lot of attacks to the basket with kickout threes and posting up. One thing we've focused on is sharing the ball."

One player Waldeck will count on in the area of sharing is new starting point guard Erica Inge.

The quick 5-foot 3-inch player is taking over for Lisa Chenoweth, who transferred to Oklahoma Christian University.

In six games this season, Inge has averaged a team-high 15.8 points and 5.7 assists per game.

"Erica's been phenomenal," Waldeck said. "She plays extremely hard."

The Mustangs are relying on a balanced offense, not just one or two players.

This season, five are averaging double figures in scoring.

"The team chemistry is really good," Gillespie said. "Everyone is so unselfish."

The Master's College returns seven players - including four starters - from last season.

The returners include Stacy Nanninga, who is fourth on the team's all-time career list in blocked shots with 85. She is also among the top 10 on the team's career list in rebounds, field-goal percentage and field goals made.

Last season, Gillespie led the Mustangs in scoring with 12.8 points per game, with Nanninga second at 10.6.

Shooting guard-forward Amanda DuRocher was third with 10.5 points per game.

"Balance and chemistry is a strength of ours," Waldeck said. "They don't care who gets the glory, as long as they win."

Even with four players 6-feet or taller and no true center, The Master's considers itself undersized.

The Mustangs struggled in the rebounding department last season.

"The thing we're not doing better is defensive rebounding," Waldeck said. "We're not real big or physical inside. But we're getting it."

The defense that was fifth in the GSAC in allowing 66 points per conference game will primarily play a zone defense, with a half-court trap.

Conference play will be tough.

Defending national champion Vanguard finished second in the conference at 18-2. Point Loma Nazarene University (19-1) won the conference.

"Our conference is excellent," Waldeck said. "I'm confident, but I'm also realistic."

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