By Jeff Craig, Sports Writer
The tandem of Audrey Maxwell-Lively and Jody Meyer combined for 38 points and 32 rebounds, as the Wildcats held off an upset-minded Tarleton State 77-71 at Moody Coliseum Wednesday night.
The Wildcats have now won four of their last five games and have a record of 12-7 overall after starting the season winning only two of their first five games. The win over the TexAnns also improved the team’s conference record to 4-1, which ranks second in the Lone Star Conference South Division behind only West Texas A&M. Head coach Shawna Lavender was pleased with her squad’s overall performance against Tarleton, particularly in the area of rebounding.
“I think one of the keys to tonight’s game was on the boards,” Lavender said. “We held them to only four offensive rebounds, which allowed us to eliminate their second chances.”
The Wildcats are the LSC South Division’s top-rebounding team and they proved it by dominating the TexAnns on the glass. ACU outrebounded TSU 49-24, with 16 of those 49 rebounds coming on the offensive end.
The TexAnns came out of the gate in a full-court press and grabbed an early lead on a D’Anna Dingler three-point shot. ACU Maxwell-Lively responded 20 seconds later with the first of her team-high 20 points, coming via an interior layup. Lively would spend the remainder of the first half fighting through intense contact from the TexAnns and collecting her 35th career double-double along the wasy. Forward Kristee Davidson came off the bench early in the first half and provided the intensity the Wildcats needed to penetrate the TexAnns’ full-court press. Davidson scored 15 points off the bench, more than the entire Tarleton bench combined. Coach Lavender described Davidson as having played one of her best games of the season and played a vital role in the victory.
“Kristee was just great,” Lavender said. “She hit big shots, played great defense and ran the floor very well.”
With 3:17 left in the first half, Audrey Maxwell-Lively grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw by Jody Meyer and put it back in giving ACU a lead that it would never lose. Towards the end of the half, the Wildcats seemed to pick up their intensity, while Tarleton State seemed to tire after having pressed for the entire half, which led to the Wildcats taking a slim 35-32 lead to the halftime.
In the second half, Kristee Davidson continued her tremendous play, making a layup with 7:31 remaining and nailing a mid-range jumper a minute later to give ACU a 10-point lead. In the game’s final minute, point guard Kat Kundmueller took the game over. With just 58 seconds remaining Kundmueller grabbed an offensive rebound and nailed a long-jump shot from just inside the left three-point line. Kundmueller would score five points in the final minute, helping the Wildcats edge the TexAnns 77-71. Coach Lavender praised the clutch play of her point guard as she quarterbacked her team to another victory.
“Kat hit some big shots for us in the second half,” Lavender said. “She really did a great job for us near the end.”
The Wildcats are now 7-2 this season within the friendly confines of Moody Coliseum, where students cheered on their team to victory. Students helped with loud cheers, chants and even one Wookie call during the game. Students’ next opportunity to see the women’s basketball team at Moody will be Feb. 7 against Texas Permian-Basin. ACU’s next game will be on the road in Wichita Falls against Midwestern State Saturday at 6 p.m.