|Lanced In Riverside |
California Baptistís Dana Olsen tallied a game-high 26 points and the first-place Lancers held off a late charge by The Masterís College to post a 74-69 victory Saturday evening in Riverside.
Suffering their second loss in a row for the first time this season, the 23rd-ranked Mustangs (12-5, 5-3) fell into a fourth-place tie with Vanguard in the GSAC. Cal Baptist, ranked sixth in the latest NAIA poll, improved to 7-1 in the conference and 14-4 overall.
The late charge came with the Mustangs down 66-53 with just over five minutes remaining. An Ella Joinesí free throw started a 7-0 spurt over a 2:11 span that drew the Mustangs within six points. Lena Rivera added three free throws during the skein, Zoe Scott chipped in with a charity toss, and Erica Inge contributed a layup.
The Lancers snapped a three-minute scoreless drought with two free throws but the Mustangs kept coming as Rivera sank a jumper and Inge converted a layup to bring the visitors within four points (68-64) at the 1:39 mark. Inge missed a three-pointer on the next possession and the Lancers answered with two more free throws, extending the advantage to six points with 47 seconds remaining.
Ten seconds later, Rivera made it a four-point game with a pair of free tosses and then the teams traded free throws until Inge scored on a layup with 15 seconds left, pulling the Mustangs with three points (72-69). A quick TMC foul sent Cal Baptistís Marlee Rice to the line where she missed both attempts, giving the Mustangs one more chance.
But, Lindsey Levanen returned the favor, missing both of her free throws and following a Mustang turnover, the Lancers iced the game with two free throws in the final second.
The Lancers built what turned out to be their insurmountable lead with dominant play that bridged the final 7Ĺ minutes of the first half and the first 14 minutes of the second. Down 17-16 with 7:31 left in the first half, the hosts outscored the Mustangs 8-0 in a 2:26 window to take the lead for good. Not content with that, they ripped off another 8-0 burst three minutes later and took a 36-27 lead at halftime.
Coming out of the break, the Lancers continued to extend the margin, outscoring the Mustangs 10-4 over the first four minutes, grabbing a game-high 15-point (46-31) lead on an Olsen layup with 15:53 remaining. The Mustangs battled back, reeling off seven straight points and when Joines drained a three-ball with 14:15 left, the deficit had been whittled to 46-38.
However, the Lancers answered with a three-ball of their own to restore order and proceeded to push their lead back into double figures before the Mustangs rallied late.
In defeat, Inge had another huge evening, posting team-highs of 22 points and six assists, and collecting a game-high six steals. Rivera had 15 points and Joines drilled four three-pointers en route to 13 more.
In the middle of a tough four-game stretch, highlighted by contests against three Top 25 squads, the Mustangs now turn their attention to No. 8 Azusa Pacific Tuesday evening in the San Gabriel Valley.