By Joel Weckerly, Sports Editor
Prior to Thursday’s game at Central Oklahoma, the women’s basketball team was 3-4 and not satisfied.
“We know how good we are,” freshman guard Ashley King said. “We want to go out and play to our ability and prove ourselves.”
The Cats will have the opportunity to do that as they wrap up their four-game road trip at Northeastern State, their last opponent before the Christmas break. The obstacles facing the Wildcats going into the game are their own mental lapses and undefeated Northeastern State (4-0).
“Our first few games have definitely exposed some weaknesses for us,” head coach Wayne Williams said. “We need to work on our defensive lapses and turnovers.”
“There’s some games that we should’ve won but we lost because of turnovers,” she said. “We haven’t played a full 40-minute game, and other teams have taken advantage of that.”
ACU ranks last (15th) in the Lone Star Conference in turnover margin, giving up an average of 18.7 and taking 14.4 per game for a margin of -4.29. The team will try to alter that statistic in Saturday’s 2 p.m. game against the Lady Reds, who lead the LSC in scoring defense with an average of 47.8 points allowed per game.
“They play tough, physical defense,” Williams said. “Offensively, they like to slow it down and focus on ball control. They key in that game is to control the tempo, because we want a faster-paced game. We’ve got to establish the inside game early on.”
Williams said this point in the season is a tough one because of the hectic nature of finals, road trips and practices.
“We’re not really stressed yet, we’re just really tired,” King said. “We hardly ever get a chance to rest.”
Despite the lack of rest, King has helped provide the team with a spark not typically seen from first-year players. The Weatherford native is averaging 9.3 points a game and is shooting 43.3 percent from three-point range.
“Ashley’s been a solid part of our offense with both her scoring and ball handling,” Williams said.
King joins junior post Lynsie Blau and sophomore forward Stephanie Riles to form a crop of newcomers making a sudden impact for the Wildcats. Blau and Riles are leading the team in scoring with 12.6 and 12.0 points per game, respectively. Blau also is tops in team rebounding, hauling in 8.4 a game.
After playing Northeast-ern, ACU doesn’t play again until a home game Dec. 16 against Lubbock Christian, then plays four more games over break: Jan. 2 at home against Southeastern Oklahoma, Jan. 4 at home against East Central Oklahoma and road games on Jan. 9 and Jan. 11 against Cameron and Southwestern Oklahoma, res-pectively.
Even though most students will be gone, Williams said he is looking forward to seeing good support for the games.
“It’ll be a great opportunity to get more of the community here,” he said, “and introduce them to what the team’s all about.”
“We need to get it done out there, no matter how many people are in the stands,” King said.