Coach Dan Waldeck was clear when he spoke about what kind of impact Saturday’s loss in the title game of the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament would have on his team’s mindset heading into nationals.
The Master’s University women’s basketball team lost 60-50 to No. 10 Westmont College in the conference championship game in Atherton, California.
“We’ll be ready, you can be sure,” Waldeck said. “We’ll be ready and hungry.”
The NAIA will release its Division 1 bracket today on Facebook Live, with the No. 5-ranked Mustangs (26-6) likely to receive a No. 2 seed.
Saturday’s loss to Westmont isn’t likely to impact TMU’s standing. The Mustangs advanced to the GSAC title game for the fourth time in six years after going 25-5 in the regular season.
Master’s pulled off an epic comeback in the tournament’s semifinals Friday, overcoming Vanguard’s 10-point lead with less than nine minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
Anika Neuman led the Mustangs with 15 points, while 6-foot-6 center Stephanie Soares had nine points, 15 rebounds and six blocks.
Valencia High graduate Sabrina Thompson scored six of her 11 points in the decisive fourth quarter.
In the championship game, Soares scored 15 points to go with a program-record-tying 26 rebounds.
Jamilee Iddings added 12 points.
The Mustangs were expected to be off Monday and Tuesday before returning to practice Wednesday and flying to Billings, Montana, for the NAIA tournament early next week.
The tournament runs March 13-19. This will be the team’s seventh straight trip to nationals.
Men’s basketball ready for conference tournament
The Mustang men’s basketball team will enter this week’s GSAC tournament as the No. 1 seed.
Master’s received a first-round bye and will play the winner of Westmont and Arizona Christian on Friday night at 7:30 in the semifinals.
The Mustangs (25-5), who secured a second straight GSAC regular season title earlier this month, have won six games in a row and are currently ranked fifth in NAIA Division 1.
They have won back-to-back GSAC tournaments.
“We’re really excited knowing the opportunity that has presented itself,” said senior guard Delewis Johnson. “We have a special opportunity to three-peat in this tournament. We feel good and everyone is confident and playing at their peak right now. We need everyone if we want to accomplish what we’re hoping to.”
If TMU wins Friday, it would play in the GSAC championship game Saturday at 6 p.m. Every game of the tournament will be broadcast on GoMustangs.com.
The men’s national tournament runs March 20-26 in Kansas City, Missouri.
TMU swim and dive caps stellar debut season
The Master’s swim and dive team flew home from Georgia on Saturday after competing at NAIA nationals.
The Mustangs sent two individuals and four relays to the event in Columbus, Georgia – Caroline Barnett providing the highlight by advancing through prelims and finishing 13th in the 50-yard freestyle. Overall, the group felt it learned a lot through the process.
“The girls see that they aren’t that far off from the top,” said head coach Byron Davis, who was an eight-time All-American at UCLA. “I see we will definitely need depth at the national level if we want to make a run at a national title.”
Freshman Journey Werner was impacted by how close the team grew over the course of its inaugural season.
“Even though it’s small, this swim family is mighty,” she said.
SCV products continue to produce
The Mustangs scored 18 runs in 16 innings Saturday during a doubleheader split with No. 13 William Jessup in Rocklin, California, near Sacramento.
Master’s won 11-6 and lost 11-7.
Valencia High graduate Anthony Lepre went 4-for-6 in the two games, with three of the hits traveling over the fence. They were Lepre’s seventh, eighth and ninth homers of the year.
Aaron Shackelford hit a home run in each game, reaching nine homers for the season as well.
Saugus High grad Roy Verdejo drove in four runs in the first game.