Any talk about The Master’s University women’s’ basketball team’s hot start has one player at the forefront. Or, really, at the “Forrar-front.”
Through eight games, and six wins, sophomore Hannah Forrar has asserted herself as the No. 18-ranked Mustangs’ go-to scorer – from the outside, the inside and the midrange. She leads the team with a mark of 17 points per game. She’s shooting 54% on 3-pointers and 54% from the field after averaging less than six points a game during an injury-riddled freshman year.
“It’s the best,” said TMU point guard Sabrina Thompson of watching Forrar’s transformation. “Last year, she was hurt and in and out, but in practice we all knew what she was capable of.”
“She has exceeded every expectation,” Thompson said. “She has stepped up in so many ways as a leader and player. It makes life a lot easier on all of us.”
The Mustangs are shooting 41% from behind the arc as a team. Some of that, probably, can be attributed to the attention opponents must pay Forrar. But a lot of it has to do with a group of underclassmen that hasn’t shied away from the spotlight once held by All-Americans Bianca Cubello and Megan Lindsley, both of whom graduated after last season’s fifth-straight trip to the NAIA national tournament.
The departures left a lot of shots for guards like Thompson, Brooke Bailey, Jamilee Iddings, Hannah Ostrom and, most of all, Forrar.
However, the biggest difference for Forrar, coach Dan Waldeck said, has simply been health.
“Last year she was handcuffed by injury and this year not so much,” he said. “She’s been able to take that opportunity to play and go with it.”
Despite the injuries a year ago, Forrar flashed the talent that made her the 2015 Class 1A Girls Basketball Player of the Year while playing for Damascus Christian in Oregon.
On Feb. 16, she scored 14 points in a rout of William Jessup. And in the second round of the NAIA tournament, she tallied 15 points in a loss to Freed-Hardeman (Tennessee).
The biggest adjustment from small-school prep ball to college came on the other end of the floor, though, Forrar said.
“I had to learn defense all over again,” she said. “… I played a lot more zone in high school.”
She also had to adjust to the pace of play and to navigating around taller bodies. But it feels safe to say – after showing improvement on defense and dropping 26 points on No. 2 Lewis-Clark State earlier this season – that she’s found her footing.
“I told her this summer, I said, ‘Listen … you can be outstanding. We need you to be,’” Waldeck said.
So far, she has. So too have the Mustangs.
TMU’s Sabrina Thompson recognized several of her opponents last week. On Wednesday, Mustang women’s basketball hosted Cal Lutheran University, a squad that featured Jade Jordan, a teammate of Thompson’s at Valencia High, and Taylor Oshiro, a Trinity Classical Academy product who Thompson played travel ball with.
“It was weird. I’ve never played against her,” Thompson said of Jordan, a freshman who had a block in eight minutes of action. “… But it was fun to see her on the court.”
On Saturday, another one of Thompson’s high school teammates came to visit. 2017 Valencia grad Kenadee Honaker and Southern Oregon University beat the Mustangs 78-70. Honaker, who drew a sizeable crowd of family and friends to TMU, pulled down six rebounds and had three steals in 19 minutes. Thompson had four assists in 32 minutes.
Women’s soccer starts title quest Tuesday
TMU (15-5-1) opens the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship Final Site competition in Orange Beach, Alabama, today against Tennessee Wesleyan (14-4-2). The Mustangs are the bracket’s No. 11 seed, while Wesleyan is unseeded after upsetting No. 6 Keiser University (Florida), 2-1, in last week’s opening round. The Mustangs beat Olivet Nazarene (Illinois), 1-0.
Game time Tuesday is 4:30 p.m. PST.
For updates, follow us on Twitter at @TMUAthletics and visit GoMustangs.com for a full recap.