TMU hoops programs on the rise

Michael Taylor is one of a number of reasons that things are looking up for the men’s and women’s basketball programs at The Master’s University. PHOTO BY DAN WATSON / THE SIGNAL

The Master’s University men’s and women’s basketball programs are experiencing unprecedented success. Dating back to last season, the women’s team led by 12th-year head coach Dan Waldeck is off to its best start ever, winning 17 straight games to begin the 2019-20 season.

The men’s team is concurrently enjoying similar success beginning the season winning 10 straight, with a 14-2 record.

With the hot starts to the season, the men’s team is the No. 2 ranked team in NAIA Division 1, while the women’s team is ranked No. 3 in Division 1. 

“We have great support from the school and administration and I think both teams work really hard at it,” said TMU women’s head coach Dan Waldeck. “One of the big things is that winning isn’t the focus, honestly. Really the focus is trying to see people mature in the walk of God and play sports as an avenue to do that.”

Although the two team’s start to the season is impressive, it’s their home winning streaks that have the onlookers in awe.

Dating back to last season, the women’s team hasn’t rattled off 20 straight home wins at the MacArthur Center since losing to the University of Antelope Valley 68-64 on Nov. 24, 2018. The following home game, the Mustangs defeated Hope International by 29 points and have not looked back.

Winning every game since by double digits, the Mustangs have won eight games at home this season, averaging 78.7 points per game, while giving up 52.4 points to their opponents.

Defense has been the key to the Mustangs success as Waldeck attributes the bloated scores to hard work and confidence.

“Our defense kind of fuels that, but I think that we just keep playing,” Waldeck said. “We have played so many different styles in the past two years that I think they are supremely confident when they walk into the gym or after the first or second quarter and they keep playing and eventually it wears on other teams.”

The men’s team helmed by fourth-year head coach Kelvin Starr hasn’t lost a game at the MacArthur Center since the 2016-17 season, winning 46 in a row after losing to Hope International 88-56 on Jan. 7, 2017.

“If you’ve been to a home game, you know how much fun it can be,” Starr said. “It’s definitely a loud gym — it’s hard to play in with how loud it is and people aren’t used to it. It’s really hard to explain. Ultimately, we have been blessed in many ways and somewhat have been lucky in other ways. It’s almost been three years since we lost at home.”

Fueled by a mix of experienced players with some young emerging talent over the years The Master’s University men’s and women’s programs both teams have continued to lay the foundation for a persevered excellence.

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