By Jared Fields, Sports Editor
The Wildcats’ season came down to someone the team had not relied on all year – Sacagawea.
The guide to Louis and Clark’s historic expedition showed her face late Saturday night, deciding which team advanced to the Lone Star Conference Tournament against the north No. 1 seed, Southwestern Okahoma.
Losing to Texas Woman’s 72-60 on Saturday, the two teams had a coin flip after all other tie-breaker methods produced more ties. ACU won the preliminary flip with the gold Sacagawea dollar for the right to call the official toss, and head coach Shawna Lavender went with tails.
“I was hoping I wouldn’t have to call it,” Lavender said. “When it came up heads, I thought, ‘well, chances are it’ll be tails next time.'”
Instead, the coin landed heads up, and the Wildcats’ season ended. Lavender, assistant coaches and media listened over the telephone loudspeaker to hear the results of the flip from the LSC office.
However ridiculous Lavender may think a coin flip is, she said her team should have never experienced it at all.
“It should’ve never come to that with us,” Lavender said. “We should’ve won Saturday and a couple of games during the year that we basically gave away.”
The first two tiebreakers didn’t serve their purpose. If at the end of the season, two teams division records are tied, the head-to-head record is used. If that is equal, then the teams’ records against the division’s high seeds, then low seeds are used. In the case of Texas Woman’s and ACU, who posses 6-8 divisional records and identical tiebreaker records, a coin flip is the final means of selecting a playoff advancing team.
“There’s got to be a better way to do it, which is something I hope they change for next year,” Lavender said. “It’s something I thought was bad all along, whether we won the flip or not; it’s something that I was going to bring up in the conference meeting just because I think it’s a crummy way for anybody to end their season.”
Beating Texas A&M-Kingsville 87-64 Thursday, all the Wildcats had to do was win Saturday to take the fourth and final seed in the LSC South and go to the postseason.
However, the Wildcats got off to a slow start against Texas Woman’s and never held a lead in the game.
“We came out and pretty much let Texas Woman’s control everything in the first 15 minutes of the game, and I was a little bit surprised by that,” Lavender said. “We came out so passive; I think we didn’t hit our first few shots, and then everyone got tense after that.”
The Pioneers were ahead 36-15 with 3:37 remaining in the first half, but freshman Kristee Davidson scored seven points in an 11-2 ACU run to finish the first half, and the Wildcats took some momentum into the locker room.
That momentum carried into the second half as the Wildcats fought back to a one-point deficit with just under 14 minutes to play, but the Pioneers went on a run of their own to open up the lead to 50-43. The Wildcats came within three points of Texas Woman’s at the three-minute mark, but could never get over the hump and lost 72-60.
In their final game, seniors Jamie Boles-Lord, Ashley King and Kierstan Barbee finished with 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively. Sophomore point guard Alex Guiton led the team with 12 points, and Davidson had 10 points in her 28 minutes off the bench.
Some of the Wildcats’ offensive woes can be explained by their poor free-throw shooting. The team went 10-21 from the line and didn’t do any better from behind the 3-point arc, making just six of 26 shots. Lavender said she might have a solution to that for next season.
“We missed a ton of free throws-again,” Lavender said. “I think next year I’m just not going to have the girls shoot them in practice, so maybe they won’t think about it.”