The Wildcats wrote their name in the history books Thursday afternoon, earning their first-ever victory in the Southland Conference Tournament by a dominant score of 88-66 over New Orleans.
ACU played like it was possessed in the second-half, scoring 58 of its 88 points, with 29 coming in each quarter, after managing only 30 points in the first-half.
The women went into halftime up by only one with the score at 30-29. The Wildcats came out firing in the second-half though, starting the third-quarter on a 15-6 run to extend the score to 45-35. New Orleans then outscored ACU 7-3 between the 4:20 and 3:15 mark of the third-quarter to close its margin to six points, however, the women prevailed and closed the quarter on an 11-4 run to stretch its lead to 13 points.
In the fourth-quarter, ACU stayed hot, commanding a double-digit lead the entire time and eventually jumping out to a 21-point lead at the 2:58 mark. The women cruised to the buzzer with a 22-point lead and captured the milestone victory.
Sophomore guard Dominique Golightly, who earned ESPN3’s player of the game, said her team was always prepared to come out and play well in the tournament.
“Like I’ve always mentioned, we’ve always tried our best to learn from our mistakes and losses in the past,” Golightly said. “Continuing to encourage each other and remind one another that this is what we’ve worked so hard for kept us going.”
Golightly put up 22 points and was a dead-eye beyond the arc as she knocked down six three-pointers, falling just one short of the Southland Tournament single-game record. Sophomore point guard Breanna Wright also put on a show, scoring 23 points and dishing out eight assists.
The women as a team shot 62.5 percent in the second-half along with an outstanding 72.7 percent from three-point range. Golightly said Head Coach Julie Goodenough was a big factor in driving her team to the win.
“Coach Goodenough continues to tell us to be the team that loves each other more on the court,” Golightly said. “I think we did a great job of expressing that out on the court with a great team win.”
With this win, the women will now move on to a second-round match with No. 3 seed Central Arkansas Friday. The Wildcats fell by double digits in both meetings with the Sugar Bears earlier this season. Tip-off is set for 1:30 p.m. and will once again be covered by ESPN3 and 98.1 FM.