The women’s basketball team got a much-needed overtime victory in front of a loud and supportive home crowd at Moody Coliseum on Saturday.
Playing a weak Texas A&M Kingsville squad, the Wildcats were playing in what they were calling a must-win game.
“Coming into this game we were 1-2, and they were 0-3,” said senior Autumn Whitaker. “We needed to move to 2-2 and they needed a conference win.”
Whitaker has been the leader of this Wildcat team and Saturday was no different. Whitaker put up a career-high 26 points and 10 rebounds. No points were bigger than two clutch free throws with 15 seconds left to go in overtime.
The Wildcats led throughout most of the game but an 18-2 Javelina run in the second half put ACU down by six, but the Wildcats clawed back. With four minutes to go Mack Lankford grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a lay up to give ACU a two-point lead.
After trading free throws, Kingsville, who was lights out from long range, hit a three with 41 ticks left on the clock to go back up by two.
The Wildcats would not be outdone on this day, however, as post Kelsey Smith hit a basket with 20 seconds left to tie it at 76. That would be the score going into overtime.
In OT, the Wildcats controlled the ball and the clock. A Javelina three at the buzzer bounced off the rim to give the ‘Cats a narrow, but well-earned two-point victory, 84-82.
“Kelsey was huge for us inside,” Whitaker said. “She is great down low and puts in the shots for us when we need them. She is a great asset to this team.”
It was only the second win in Moody Coliseum this year for Shawna Lavender’s bunch, but a 2-2 record in conference play is keeping the Wildcats right in the thick of Lone Star Conference competition.
“Home games in the LSC, you have to win,” said head coach Shawna Lavender. “Being 2-2 puts us in the middle of the pack and 1-3 would have put us back. It was a confidence-boosting win and one we can build off of.”
ACU trails both Tarleton State and West Texas A&M in the LSC standings by two games, but is in a tie for third. They will see another 2-2 team on Tuesday when they travel to San Antonio to face Incarnate Word.