By Jeff Craig, Sports Writer
The red-hot women’s basketball team continued its recent stretch of success by blasting the Rambelles of Angelo State 69-49 in front of a crowd of more than 700 Saturday at Moody Coliseum.
The win lifted the Wildcats’ record to 11-7 overall and improved their conference record to 3-1 against Lone Star Conference South Division foes. Meanwhile, Angelo State fell to a 10-8 record and dropped its conference record to 1-2. The Wildcats have now won three of their last four games, and Shawna Lavender, the reigning LSC South Division Coach of the Year, is excited about her team’s progress.
“I feel like we’ve turned the corner a little bit with our intensity and playing a solid 40 minutes,” Lavender said. “We’ve had a great deal of focus the last couple of weeks, along with a good balance of play inside and outside.”
The Rambelles jumped out to an early 8-3 advantage, until center Audrey Lively knocked down a free throw 4:41 into the game to give the Wildcats the lead for good. With just over nine minutes left in the first half, guard Kat Kundmueller knocked down a big jumper to give ACU a 17-11 lead and some momentum. The Wildcats would build off that momentum and hold a 12-point advantage at halftime. ACU would begin to pull away in the second half; the Cats would end the game on a 9-4 run, ultimately winning by a margin of 20 points.
The Wildcats dominated the Rambelles in nearly every statistical category of the game. They currently rank as the top-rebounding team in LSC South Division and built on that distinction by dominating Angelo State on the glass. The Wildcats outrebounded the Rambelles 50-35 for the game. ACU also demonstrated a well-balanced attack by shooting 47.4 percent from the field while holding the Rambelles to just 25 percent shooting throughout.
Senior and Abilene native Audrey Maxwell-Lively continued her dominating season with possibly her most complete game of the season. Lively scored a season-high 29 points while collecting 12 rebounds for her 34th career double-double. The six-foot center attributed both the team’s and her own successes to their ability to play two strong halves against the Rambelles.
“We need to keep building on playing two strong halves; we need to focus on playing 40 solid minutes each game. If we can continue to play like we did against Angelo State, I feel we really will be nearly unstoppable,” Maxwell-Lively said. Maxwell-Lively’s great weekend didn’t end when the buzzer sounded at Moody Coliseum. Maxwell-Lively was named the LSC South Division Player of the Week. Her excellent week consisted of double-doubles against Texas A&M Kingsville and Angelo State. Maxwell-Lively also moved into 15th place on ACU’s all-time scoring list during the game against Angelo State. She attributed her individual success to her team’s hard work and maturation.
“I am really excited about the honor of being named player of the week; it’s really a reflection on our whole team. The guards did a great job of getting the ball inside, and everyone did a great job of blocking out, allowing us to rebound,” Maxwell-Lively said.
Junior guard Kelsey Darby agreed with her teammates, while noting the team’s recent success is due to the complete efforts by the entire team.
“The guards and posts have to feed off each other,” Darby said. “Because we are so strong on the outside and inside, we have different options and players who can knock down their shots. When the forwards play well, it opens things up for our guards.”
The Wildcats find themselves in a good position, but there is a lot of season left. Lavender said her team must stay focused and improve on its cohesion as the players continue their quest for an LSC title.
“One of the big things in conference play is to maintain focus, especially playing teams for a second time,” Lavender said. “We have to be able to make adjustments and realize that every game is an important one.”
The Wildcats game against Tarleton State on Tuesday evening was postponed due to inclement weather. The game is rescheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Moody Coliseum.