Despite one of the greatest defensive efforts in Sam Houston State’s history from senior Angela Beadle, the Wildcats held on late for their 11th straight win, 87-76.
“Beadle is a tremendous low post presence,” head coach Julie Goodenough said. “I am really proud of players not backing away from her. She got her share of blocks tonight and that is fine. Our posts really battled her.”
ACU scored more than 80 points for the second straight road game, as four starters scored in double figures including junior Suzzy Dimba, who finished with a season-high 22 points. The Wildcats have improved their scoring output in every conference game so far this year, scoring 61 in the opener against Central Arkansas, and putting in 87 points in their latest matchup.
“Tonight was the first time in a long time that I’ve been aggressive offensively and shot when I was wide open,” Suzy Dimba said. “One thing that coach Goodenough has been telling us is that when you’re open, look to score which is what I did tonight.”
Suzzy Dimba also added seven rebounds and six steals to go along with her near perfect 4-for-5 night from three.
“Suzzy has not been shooting well from the three-point line so SHSU defense just dared her to shoot from there,” Goodenough said. “She made the most of what they gave her by draining 4-of-5 from behind the arc. The extra work she is putting in is paying off for her.”
The Wildcats only led by six points at the half, but came out fast in the third quarter forcing five turnovers and outscoring SHSU 14-3 over the first four minutes of the quarter. The Bearkats committed 20 turnovers on the night, which led to 28 ACU points.
“We did a really good job as a team of reading Sam Houston and going to steal those passes and then looking up the floor for open teammates,” Suzzy Dimba said.
The junior duo of Alexis Mason and Sydney Shelstead combined for 38 points, as Shelstead chipped in 21 points and Mason recorded 17. Shelstead also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists, while Mason, the reigning back-to-back Southland Conference Player of the Week, secured five rebounds and distributed seven assists.
Senior Whitney West also scored in double figures with 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the free throw line.
With six games down, the Wildcats, at 15-2 on the season and 6-0 in conference, still hold a half game lead over Central Arkansas, who they beat 61-49 in the Southland opener.
ACU travels to San Antonio this weekend to take on UIW in the final game of a three-game road trip. UIW has won its last two games and is up to ninth in the conference standings.