|Mustangs Clip Sunbirds |
Erica Inge scored the go-ahead basket and added two insurance free throws and The Master’s College forced a late turnover to eke out a 73-70 win over host Fresno Pacific Tuesday evening.
The victory kept the Mustangs undefeated (3-0) in GSAC play and lifted their overall record to 6-1.
Inge, who tallied 25 points for the second game in a row, put the Mustangs up 71-70 on a layup with 17 seconds remaining. Following a timeout, the Sunbirds appeared to go ahead but a charging foul nullified the basket and set up Inge’s clinching free throws.
The late-game thrills capped off a furious comeback by the Sunbirds while the Mustangs hung on after leading the entire second half until the final minute. Over the final 20 minutes, the Mustangs led by as many as 10 points before the hosts closed quickly to take a late lead.
Leading 41-36 at halftime, the Mustangs pushed their advantage to nine on an Inge jumper and two Lena Rivera free throws. The Sunbirds answered back with an 11-3 burst to close to 48-47 with 14:39 remaining but in accordion fashion, the Mustangs built the advantage to 10 points (57-47) with a 9-0 spurt in a 2˝-minute span. Triggered by a Zoe Scott layup, the run also featured a Brook Bekendam three-point play and layups by Inge and Theresa Brown.
But, this game was far from over. Spurred by consecutive three-pointers, the Sunbirds fought back and drew to within 59-56 at the 7:41 mark. The Mustangs retaliated with a Rivera jumper and a Scott trifecta to push the lead back to eight but just as quickly the momentum shifted back to the Sunbirds who held the Mustangs to two points in a four-minute window while scoring 10 themselves to force a 66-all tie with 1:44 left to play.
Brown’s jumper with three seconds left on the shot clock gave the Mustangs a 68-66 lead but Fresno’s Callie Rohrbacker drained a three-ball at the 56-second mark to vault the Sunbirds in front for the first time since the 11:50 mark of the first half.
A free throw on their next possession boosted the Sunbird margin to two points but Lindsey Levanen hit the first of two free throw attempts to make it a one-point game. Levanen missed her second shot but Scott came up with a huge offensive rebound that led to Inge’s go-ahead layup.
The first half didn’t have as many thrills but it did feature some torrid Mustang shooting as both clubs jockeyed back and forth. The Sunbirds led by as many as four points while holding the lead for over five minutes. The Mustangs wiped that out with a 9-2 spurt, highlighted by Kimmy Iverson’s seven points, to take a lead (24-21) they would hold for the rest of the half.
Inge then fueled a 13-2 run with a three-point play that created the first real separation of the game and lengthened the lead to 37-25. She also added two more layups and Ella Joines finished it off with a layup at the 5:01 mark.
Even that couldn’t put away the hosts who demonstrated a preview of things to come by chopping away at the deficit, closing to within five points at intermission. All of this despite the Mustangs shooting a terrific 59% from the field over the opening 20 minutes.
Inge’s game-high total came on 10-18 from the field and 5-5 from the line. The diminutive point guard is now shooting a gaudy 92.5% (37-40) at the line. She also dished out a team-high six assists. Rivera was the only other Mustang in double figures with 11 points. Morgan Schwegler grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
With three GSAC road wins under their belt, the Mustangs return home for the first time in nearly a month this Saturday evening to face Concordia in a 5:30pm start.