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Mustangs come up short

Second-ranked Lions grit down late to close out The Master’s College

Posted: January 31, 2009 11:16 p.m.
Updated: February 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Mustangs guard Erica Inge, left, drives to the basket as teammate Stacy Nanninga (24) follows Saturday against Vanguard at The Master's College.

The Master's College womens basketball team had NAIA No. 2 Vanguard on the ropes.

Up one point with just over a minute and a half left in the game, the Mustangs (10-10, 5-6) were unable to close it out on Saturday night at Bross Gymnasium, falling to the Lions (18-2, 11-0) 70-65.

Vanguard's 14-3 run midway through the second half stretched its lead to six points, but TMC recovered and took a one-point lead off an Annie Gillespie field goal with 1:49 left in the second half.

The Mustangs were in position to avenge their 83-64 loss to Vanguard on Jan. 3 in Costa Mesa.

"We probably played better as a team back then," said TMC head coach Dan Waldeck. "But we didn't play with our hearts like we played tonight. We have really been working on having passion in the way we play. I'm super proud of these kids. We only have nine kids on our roster and they fought like dogs."

Seconds after TMC took to lead, Vanguard's Diana Neves drained a pair of free throws that put the visitors up 64-63.

Neves finished the game as the team's top scorer, pouring in 18 points and going 4-for-4 from the line.

Several missed Mustang opportunities and Lion free throws later, the game was out of reach for the home team and the Golden State Athletic Conference's top team escaped with the victory.

"Every time we play up here, no matter what our records are, we have a close game," said Vanguard head coach Russ Davis.

Lion forward Lauren Gregory gave the Mustangs fits all night and finished the game with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

"Lauren is tough to guard because she can go outside and inside just like Stacy (Nanninga)," Davis said. "I think that was the key tonight."

Nanninga recorded the double-double for TMC with 10 points and 10 boards.

The Mustangs could not get anything going in the paint and were forced to settle for low-percentage shots from beyond the 3-point line.

TMC was held to 35.4 percent shooting from the field.

Helping out Gregory was fellow forward Molly Pfohl, who racked up 17 points and six rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting.
However, the Mustangs had their chances and even started the game off with an 8-0 run.

The momentum was in their favor heading toward the break when TMC rattled off 11 points to Vanguard's four en route to a 33-31 halftime advantage.

Sophomore point guard Erica Inge was a big reason for that.

Scoring 17 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in the game, the 5-foot-3 Inge came down with offensive rebounds and took steals the other way for two points to spark the team and the crowd.

TMC's Amanda Durocher also chipped in with 12 points and six rebounds.

In the end, it was not enough as the Mustangs dropped their fourth consecutive game, begging the question: What will it take to get the team over the hump?
For Waldeck, the answer is simple.

"A break," he said.

TMC will look to turn things around on Tuesday night, when it travels to Azusa Pacific for the 5:30 matchup with the NAIA's No. 20 team.


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