The ACU women’s basketball team opened its 2010-11 campaign Friday in Austin and came away with unfavorable results, having lost both games slated on their schedule.
Friday the Wildcats played Hillsdale on the campus of St. Edwards University in Austin at the St. Edwards Shootout and caught the short end of the stick, losing 77-66 to the Chargers.
Hillsdale had a lead of 25 points in the second half, but the Wildcats rebounded and cut the lead to as little as eight with 25 seconds left in the game, displaying a sense of persistence and tenacity that head coach Shawna Lavender was glad to see.
“I was so impressed with our tenacity and drive in the Hillsdale game. We were down 18 at half, and things just weren’t looking good for us. It would have been so easy for us to put our tail between our legs and give up, but there was never a thought of doubt from the girls. They played with great intensity and purpose until the final buzzer sounded,” Lavender said.
Hillsdale’s Laura Barczak made a pair of free throws to make it 55-30 with 14:06 to play, but the Wildcats were still hard at it, cutting the score to 72-64, with capped layups by freshman Hillari Adam and sophomore Cecilee Perez. The lone senior on the team, Autumn Whitaker, had a game-high 17 points while Perez and Kelsey Smith followed suit with 11 and 10, respectively.
The Wildcats outscored the Chargers by eight points in the second half.
For nine of the players, this was their first time to step on a collegiate court and compete, and Lavender acknowledged their efforts.
“It was definitely a positive thing to see the fight and character that everyone showed in the second half,” said Lavender.
The ‘Cats then took on the St. Edwards Lady Hilltoppers on Saturday in Austin and fell short, losing 64-59.
St. Edwards outscored ACU 7-0 in the final 23 seconds of the game.
ACU led 59-57 with 26 seconds left after Renata Marquez hit a pair of free throws to break a 57-all tie.Â But just three seconds later, Haley Tidwell nailed a 3-pointer to give the Hilltoppers a 60-59 lead that would ultimately prove to be concrete.
After a Cecilee Perez turnover and a Marquez foul with 16 seconds left, Brittany Ward hit a pair of free throws to make it a 62-59 game.Â ACU called timeout with seven seconds left, but Perez missed a game-tying 3-pointer with four seconds left.
The Wildcats (0-2) shot a meager 36 percent from the field, and struggled at the free throw line, hitting only 18 of 30 charity shots. Both are things that sophomore Shelby Shipley says need to improve, as they are essential for winning at the collegiate level.
“We definitely need to work on our shot selection and taking advantage of the opportunities presented to us on the offensive end of the floor. We need to be more patient and wait for those opportunities to develop, and we’ll be fine,” Shipley said.
The Wildcats will be back on the court at 6 p.m. Tuesday November 23, as they take on St. Mary’s in San Antonio.