By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
This time last year the women’s basketball team lacked the one thing that is currently guiding the first-place Wildcats: focus.
Head coach Wayne Williams resigned his position as the head basketball coach, citing health and personal reasons, elevating assistant coach Shawna Lavender.
The team searched for its identity and finished the season strong by winning five of six games under Lavender. Focus, however, remained an issue.
ACU, 16-7 overall and 8-2 in the Lone Star Conference South Division, remains atop of the LSC South because of playing focused basketball and taking a defense-first approach, said Lavender.
“One difference between this year and last year is that this is a focused team,” Lavender said. “No one is worried about individual statistics. This group is coming together and playing good defense, and that’s why we have been successful this year.”
ACU ranks first in the Lone Star Conference in blocked shots and third in the LSC South Division in team defense. The Wildcats are also ranked first in the conference in assists.
Senior centers Melanie Carter and Lynsie Blau lead the push toward the playoffs for the Wildcats. Carter averages 15.9 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game, while Blau averages 12.3 points per game and 11.3 rebounds per game. Blau also has a conference high 71 blocked shots this season.
“We are just really focused right now at improving every game and proving to everyone else why we are at the top right now,” Carter said.
Lavender said the duo of Carter and Blau in the middle forces match-up problems for other teams.
“One thing that separates these two is that they can both run the floor very well,” Lavender said. “When you have two centers who can get up and down the court the way they do it causes so major adjustments in the other team’s defense and we’ve taken advantage of that.”
The Wildcats look to continue taking advantage of opponents on Saturday in a road game against Midwestern at 2 p.m.
“Midwestern is a tough team who was actually picked to win the LSC South,” Lavender said. “They have so many players that can score and are an aggressive team. We need to be playing our A game if we want to win.”