|Some Things Are Free!|
In a world where nearly everything costs something, The Masterís College womenís basketball team found out Tuesday evening that some valuable things are still free, sort of. Sinking 30 free throws, including nine in the final three minutes, the Mustangs moved past and then held off No. 7 Biola 73-65 in Bross Gym.
The victory, upping the clubís overall record to 11-3 and 4-1 in the GSAC, kept the Mustangs in a first-place tie atop the conference with Vanguard and California Baptist.
Although free throw attempts are uncontested, nothing really came easy for an aggressive Mustang club that earned all 36 tries from the line. And, nobody earned those shots more than Theresa Brown and Erica Inge. The teamís tallest and shortest players combined for 23 points from the stripe, highlighted by a 12-12 performance from Brown, while Inge went 11-14. By comparison, the Eagles went to the line just 15 times, converting seven.
Ingeís initial two free throws were her teamís only points in the first three minutes of play as Biola rolled to a 7-2 lead. But, an Ella Joinesí three-pointer keyed a 6-0 spurt that Zoe Scott finished off with a jumper for a 10-8 lead at the 12:50 mark of the first half.
That set off a back-and-forth tussle the rest of the half that featured four ties and nine lead changes. No more than four points separated the clubs until a Morgan Schwegler free throw with 2:31 left in the period capped off a 12-2 burst, handing the Mustangs a 30-24 advantage. Defense sparked the run as the Mustangs held the Eagles to just four points in a five-minute span.
The Eagles did close out the half with four straight points, however, slicing the deficit to 30-28 at the break. Over the first 20 minutes, the Mustangs shot just 36% from the field but a 12-2 advantage at the line was the difference. Inge had eight of those free throws en route to 10 points. Biola went just 2-9 from the line.
The first six minutes of the second half were as tightly played as possible until a Scott three-ball with 13:21 capped off an 8-0 run, taking the Mustangs from a two-point deficit to a 44-38 lead. Brown, who was just starting to flex her muscle, scored the other five points. Another Brown jumper with 9:57 left pushed the lead to 51-43 and the Mustangs appeared to be in total control.
But, the Eagles werenít ranked as high as they were for nothing. Holding TMC scoreless for nearly five minutes, they flew back into the game and past the Mustangs, taking a 52-51 lead on a Christina Barclay charity toss with 5:29 remaining.
Brown was quick to counter, though, sticking a couple of free tosses to regain the lead and then assisting on Ingeís huge trifecta that knotted the game at 56 with 3:30 left. That three-ball triggered a game-changing 8-0 burst to which Brown contributed two more free throws and then Joines drilled her second trey of the evening for a 61-56 lead.
Biola narrowed the gap to three points on its next possession but then Brown, who tallied a game-high 20 points, started to put a lid on this one. After Lindsey Levanenís layup pushed the advantage to five points (63-58), Brown polished off a three-point play and then nailed two more free throws (10-10 in the second half) with 50 seconds left for a 68-60 lead. Scott followed with two more free tosses, capping off a 17-4 run in less than three minutes. The Mustangs made the Eaglesí desperate quest for the ball in the final minute a moot effort, scoring their final eight points from the line.
Brown, who tallied 18 points in the second half, rang up her second double-double in three games, snatching a team-high 10 rebounds. Inge provided a sparkling complement, scoring 18 points and handing out three assists. Scott was superb off the bench with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Coach Dan Waldeck was ďproud of his teamís effort and concentration over 40 minutes and its ability to stay composed and focused against an excellent Biola squad.Ē He singled out Inge, Brown, and Scott for their exceptional offensive performance but was quick to point out that the rest of the team played wonderful defense.
After playing their first home game in just over three weeks, the Mustangs return to the road this Saturday when they travel to San Diego to take on Point Loma Nazarene.