By Michael Freeman, Assistant Sports Editor
Adrenaline was definitely rushing through the veins of ACU’s and Tarleton State’s players Tuesday night in Moody Coliseum as both teams had an energetic, but sloppy start to the game. However, the Wildcats calmed down in the second half to cruise a 75-58 victory.
With the win, ACU moves to 9-9 overall and 3-2 in the Lone Star Conference South Division. Tarleton State drops to 12-6 for the season with a 3-2 conference record.
“I thought we played harder than they did,” said head coach Shawna Lavender. “We played harder than we have in a long time. That was the real difference.”
Forward Kristee Davidson led ACU with 26 points, four steals and two rebounds. Guard Alex Guiton finished the game with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists, while center Audrey Maxwell contributed with 11 points and forward Jamie Meyer put up 10 points and eight rebounds. Guard Kathryn Kundmueller nearly had a triple-double as she ended the game with six points, eight assists and 10 rebounds.
“It was a great team effort,” Davidson said. “We made the extra pass, looked for the open girl and we just played for the entire 40 minutes.”
The opening half began slowly as both teams only produced five points in the first five minutes. Turnovers plagued the Wildcats as they gave up the ball a total of 16 times in the first half. The TexAnns did not fare much better as they turned the ball over 10 times, and shot a dismal 32.3 percent from the field. ACU took advantage of their opponent’s poor shooting
and went on a 15-8 run in the last six and a half minutes of the first half.
“I think in the second half we pushed the ball a lot better,” Lavender said. “I think that was the difference in the second half for us.”
The Wildcats came out of the break leading 30-23, and did not relinquish the lead for the rest of the game. ACU shot a blistering 64 percent from the field, while Tarleton State continued to struggle hitting only 40 percent of their shots. The Wildcats also out-rebounded the TexAnns, grabbing 47 for the game, while Tarleton managed only 28. The Wildcats’ 10 fast break points, eight of which came in the second half, helped ACU pull away to a 75-58 win.
“It’s a huge win,” Lavender said. “Anytime you can pick up a win in conference against Tarleton is big because they’ve been playing great basketball.”
Tuesday’s win was a big recovery for the Wildcats after Saturday’s loss.
Last Saturday, the Wildcats failed to break their winless streak in Wichita Falls as they lost to Midwestern State 85-63. The loss marked ACU’s ninth straight loss at Midwestern State’s home court.
Only two Wildcats managed to score 10 or more points, while Midwestern had four players reach double-digits. Davidson led the Wildcats with 11 points and Maxwell ended the game with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
ACU stayed close to the Mustangs for the first 17 minutes, but Midwestern State put together a 12-6 streak to close the first half with a 44-33 lead. The Wildcats’ second half shooting did not help their chances at a comeback as ACU only hit 26.7 percent of their shots. Midwestern State, on the other hand, shot 48.1 percent from the field as they closed out the game with a 22-point win.
“We’re a lot better than our record says,” Davidson said. “We know how good we can be, and we just haven’t played like it yet.”