SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - Lena Rivera (Allen, TX), Kimberly Iverson (San Marcos, CA), and Theresa Brown (Eugene, OR) were honored Tuesday night in Bross Gymnasium as part of the annual Senior Night ceremonies hosted by The Master's College Athletics Department.
Before the post-game ceremony, the senior trio demonstrated their value as they led the No. 11 nationally ranked Lady Mustangs to a 76-65 triumph over the No. 7 nationally ranked Vanguard Lions (20-3, 10-3), lifting their overall season record to 24-4, and 9-4 in the Golden State Athletic Conference.
"This was a special group of seniors," commented Lady Mustang head coach Dan Waldeck. "They're irreplaceable. I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to coach them, and I'm really going to miss them a lot. They've provided great leadership, and have developed an outstanding culture here."
However, Rivera, Iverson, and Brown will have another opportunity to play in the friendly confines of Bross Gymnasium, as the Lady Mustangs are likely to host either the quarterfinal or semifinal round of the 2013 GSAC Tournament. The squad will learn of their post-season schedule after their Saturday night showdown against Hope International.
The evening began with the Lady Mustangs on the ropes, as the Lions got out front with an early 8-0 run. However, Jacquelyn Marshall (San Clemente, CA), Whitney Best (Snohomish, WA), Zoe Scott (Spokane, WA), and Lena Rivera manufactured an outstanding 17-2 run, giving the Lady Mustangs a seven point lead at 17-10 with 13:43 left to play in the half. After struggling to maintain a double digit lead in the final minutes of the first stanza, a 16-10 scoring volley gave TMC the upper hand with a 49-36 advantage at the half.
At the break, the Lady Mustangs went 19-36 from the field (52%), 9-15 on three pointers (60%), and maintained 100% accuracy behind the line (2-2).
Whitney Best, who went 4-6 behind the arc by the end of the night, started the second half by a hitting a three-pointer extending the Lady Mustang's lead to 52-36. Shortly after, Zoe Scott solidified her long-range marksmanship by draining a three-pointer giving TMC a game-high 21 point lead at 57-36. Scott finished the night by going 5-9 on three pointers. The Lady Mustangs' controlled the entirety of the second half, and never once allowed their lead to dip below six points.
As it was Senior Night in Bross Gym, Lena Rivera gave a fitting performance as she went 7-9 from the field, 4-4 from behind the line, chipped in a team-high five assists, and led the Lady Mustangs with 19 points. The Lady Mustangs' underclassmen displayed a strong showing as sophomore Whitney Best posted 16 points, followed by Zoe Scott chipping in 16 more.
Further commenting on the Lady Mustangs' performance, Coach Waldeck said "The last couple of weeks we've been working on playing as a more poised as a team, and moving the ball a little more. We were able to do that, and got some great shots over the course of the evening. We were able to be disruptive, and as a result, we got a victory against a great team. "
The Lady Mustangs now look to close out their regular season schedule against Hope International (12-16, 4-9 GSAC) in a 5:30 PM road game in Fullerton. The last time the two conference teams squared off, TMC topped the Royals 94-47.
"Hope plays extremely well on their home court," said Waldeck. "I'm expecting a dogfight of a game. They're a different team since the last time we played them."