By Clint Andersen
In a game filled with travelling calls and turnovers by both teams, the Mustangs came away with a hard-fought victory over Bridgeport in the opening round of the Alliance Holiday Tournament 39-38.
A four day lay-off and full court pressure by both teams led to lots of turnovers on both sides. A back-and-forth first quarter ended with Bridgeport holding a 7-6 lead.
The Mustangs stayed close through the second quarter, but two lay-ups gave the Bulldogs a five point lead. As time expired in the first half, Bridgeport made a long three pointer that gave them a 24-16 halftime lead.
The Mustangs made some key halftime adjustments by dropping their full-court pressure and making a commitment to get the ball inside to Sara Marlatt on the offensive end. The adjustments paid off as Marlatt dropped in 8 points in the period and the Mustangs erased the eight point halftime deficit, finishing the quarter tied 28-28.
In the fourth quarter the Bulldogs again pulled away. At 2:27 left in the game and the Mustangs trailing 36-32, Brittany Hoagland nailed a three pointer from the left corner to trim the Bulldog lead to 36-35. After trading baskets, the Mustangs were forced to foul to stop the clock.
With 23.1 seconds to go the Mustangs trailed 38-37. Bridgeport could not convert their free throws and the Mustangs got the ball back. After calling a time out, the Mustangs set up an in-bounds play from half court with 19 seconds left, but a turnover gave the ball back to Bridgeport.
The Bulldogs went back to the free-throw line with 11.9 seconds to go, but again couldn’t convert. The Mustangs grabbed the rebound and called time out with 8.6 seconds to go. With the ball at half court, Deni Jacobsen took the inbounds pass and found Brittany Hoagland open in the right corner. Brittany then made a perfect pass inside to a triple-teamed Sara Marlatt who converted the easy two-foot jumper for the 39-38 win.
Sara Marlatt led all scorers with 24 points. Brittany Hoagland added 5, Brandi Roth, 4, Morgan Sones, 3, Ashton Sasse, 2, and Dani Campbell, 1.