The ACU women’s basketball team suffered another close loss on Saturday to the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders. The Wildcats were coming off an 82-70 victory over Houston Baptist two days earlier but could not maintain the winning momentum.
ACU had a strong first half in front of the “pinked out” crowd. They entered the locker room only trailing by one at halftime, but the Islanders opened the second half with a 7-0 run. The ‘Cats had to play catch-up the rest of the way and still almost claimed a victory.
With the Wildcats only trailing by two, freshman forward Lizzy Dimba grabbed an offensive rebound with five seconds left and was immediately fouled. She hit her first free throw to make it a one-point game but missed the second one for a tie. The Islanders secured the rebounded and then iced the game with two free throws on the other end.
“It’s a good learning opportunity for our young team to understand that every possession is important,” head coach Julie Goodenough said. “We just can’t take possessions off because we have proven to be in all of these Southland Conference games. We are really competing even for our first year.”
The 74-71 loss marks ACU’s fifth defeat in seven games. It is also their fifth loss decided by only two possessions.
“There are no moral victories for us,” Goodenough said.
The coaching staff have continued to preach and the players have showed nothing but hard work and intense effort.
“I think after a game like that we just have to keep working hard,” Senior Renata Marquez said.
In their first season in Div. I, ups and downs were expected for the Wildcat team, but the consistently slim margin of defeat is frustrating. Entire games boil down to minute fundamentals such as rebounds and free throws. ACU shot only 60.7 percent from behind charity stripe on Saturday – a stat that could have easily changed the game.
The Islanders, on the other hand, capitalized on such details shooting 64 percent from the free throw line and 53 percent from behind the arc. Senior Jasmine Shaw stole the show, however, scoring a game-high of 26 points. The feat earned her Southland Conference women’s basketball player of the week. The ‘Cats were led in the scoring column by Marquez with 17 points. Freshman Suzzy Dimba and Sydney Shelstead both added ten points.
ACU will get a chance to redeem themselves on national television on Thursday in San Antonio against University of the Incarnate Word. The ESPN3 match-up features two Lone Star Conference teams that have made the jump to Div. I. The teams split the two game series last season with each taking a win on their home court. The ‘Cats will look to add to their perfect ESPN track record following their Jan. 25 victory over Sam Houston State.