The women’s basketball team earned a share of its second straight Southland Conference title as it moved into a tie with Central Arkansas after an 89-60 victory over Houston Baptist.
In what started off as a closely-contested game, quickly turned into a dominating performance by the Wildcats. After finishing the first quarter at 16-16, ACU would take a two-point advantage, 36-34, into halftime. But the Wildcats would come out firing on all cylinders in the second half as senior guard Alexis Mason started to heat up after missing her first six shots of the game, to finish the game with 31 points.
Mason would continue to add to her historic career as she set the single-game records for most made three-pointers and most three-pointers attempted in a game, going 9-of-19 from beyond the arc. Her ninth and final three-pointer on the night would also happen to be her 300th of her career.
“Coach Goodenough always tells us you miss every shot you don’t take and if I would have stopped shooting I would have missed all those shots, so my mindset was to keep shooting open shots and don’t force anything,” Mason said.
The Wildcats began to establish a sizable lead in the third, outscoring the Huskies 29-16, to take a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter. But Mason would not be the lone contributor to the Wildcats big win, with senior Sydney Shelstead scoring 14 points and grabbing eight rebounds and seniors Lizzy Dimba and Suzzy Dimba contributing a true twin effort, matching each other with 13 points and six rebounds apiece. Suzzy would add six dimes, three blocks, and one steal to her well rounded stat line on the night.
“It’s crazy, I can’t believe I don’t have any more conference games left,” Suzzy said. “It was awesome we had a lot of fans that came to Houston, so it was a really great feeling to get that [conference championship] award, and have fans there to support us as well.”
The Wildcats eventually blew the game open in the fourth quarter to increase their lead to a comfortable 24 points with just over 6 minutes left in the game, finishing the quarter only allowing the Huskies to manage 10 points in the final quarter.
As the game ended, the Wildcats gathered on the court after their 29-point, 89-60, win and accepted the conference championship trophy for a second year in a row.
Head coach Julie Goodenough said it was exactly where they hoped to be at the end of conference season.
“We started the season out as a preseason favorite, so a lot of pressure to uphold the standard that we set the year before, so give our players a lot of credit for just staying focused and locked in,” Goodenough said.
ACU has a combined 33-3 record in conference during their two championships seasons.
Although the regular season has ended and the women are still not able to compete in the Southland Conference Tournament or the NCAA Championship Tournament, they can compete in the WNIT, which they did last season and most likely will again this year. ACU could also receive a bid to the WBI, however, it must wait till Monday, March 13, to find out its fate and which tournament it play in.