Back home, back on track

November 7, 2017

Box Score

The fact that Hannah Forrar wore a backpack following TMU women’s basketball’s 80-54 win over La Sierra on Tuesday normally wouldn’t be included in even the most minute of game notes.

But on this night – one where a furious second quarter made the difference and Forrar led the way with 20 points – the bag was important because it wasn’t packed for an extended trip.

The Mustangs returned from a six-day Northwest swing this week and played their first game on Bross Court since Oct. 26. Forrar, for one, was happy to be home.  

“Oh my gosh,” she said. “So nice to be back in my own gym and sleep in my own bed.”

More importantly…

“It felt good to finally get a win,” she said.

The Mustangs (1-1), who began the season with a daunting stretch of exhibitions, started Tuesday like a team playing its fifth game in seven days. Master’s struggled to find its touch from the outside and to take care of the ball in a back-and-forth first quarter.

But Forrar played aggressively. She rebounded her own miss in rush-hour traffic and forced it back up for an and-1 late in the first quarter to put TMU ahead 16-11. Later she drove baseline and kicked it to Brooke Bailey for an open three.

The Mustangs moved the ball with more vigor and shot with more accuracy in the second quarter, building a 44-25 lead by halftime.

Forrar stuffed the stat sheet, finishing the game with six assists and five rebounds. Jamilee Iddings tallied 15 points and nine boards. Bailey added 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting from behind the arc.

Her final three came on a play that does not embody the way the Mustangs are approaching the season.

With five minutes to play in the fourth quarter, forward Rebekah Throns reached up, on the run, and intercepted a Golden Eagle pass. She proceeded the other way with caution, peeking over her shoulder, trying to locate a lurking La Sierra defender.

Then Throns passed it to Bailey, who nailed the three.

The Mustangs, to their credit, are not looking back at five exhibition losses, three against NCAA Division 1 foes. They’re instead focused on the opportunities that lie ahead.

“I think going into it we realized we had nothing to lose,” Forrar said of the exhibitions. “We knew it would definitely help the rest of the season look a little easier. We grew so much from it.”

Tuesday, Master’s got to be the bully. The Mustangs out-rebounded the Eagles 53-40 and won the battle of second-chance points 23-8.

Freshman posts Anika Neuman and Jessica Soares both finished with 10-plus rebounds and blocked four shots each.

The Mustangs held the Eagles to 21% shooting after halftime, a stat that buoyed TMU’s efforts during a stretch when it shot just 36% itself.

That wasn’t the story in a solid second quarter, though: Master’s turned the ball over just three times, had eight assists on 10 baskets and used dribble penetration to set up open threes (they made 6 of 10 in the frame).

“I’ve told people the whole year, we’re going to be so much better in March than we are right now,” said coach Dan Waldeck. “I’m excited for teams to watch us right now and go, ‘Hmm, Master’s is up and down, whatever.’ But we’re going to be really good.” 

The Mustangs built a 24-point lead early in the third quarter that erased memory of a tight first frame.

At game’s end, Master’s players dispersed from the locker room and the gym, but not the campus. And that, on this night, made everything a little better.