Erin Buescher is healthy and The Master's College women's basketball team is in a strong position to make a run at the NAIA title.
Buescher, a senior transfer who led UC Santa Barbara to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, has recovered from a stress fracture in her foot and will play tonight in a first-round game against Dillard, La., at Jackson, Tenn.
Dillard (20-8) finished second in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference.
Master's is seeded No. 4 in the 32-team tournament and must win five games in seven days to win the championship. The Mustangs defeated top-seeded Oklahoma City in December.
"The demanding schedule will make it different for us and for everybody else," Coach Ken Sugarman said. "We feel like we have as good a chance as anyone."
Center Lesley DuBois averages 15.7 points and 6.5 rebounds for Master's. Five other players average at least seven points a game.
Master's has won a school-record 24 in a row, including four when Buescher was injured.
"We have a lot of girls who contribute," Sugarman said. "Erin is our best player, definitely, and has a lot of big-game experience, but we have a lot of balance."