It was a relatively easy game on a tough Lone Star Conference schedule for the Wildcats, and they took full advantage of the matchup against a weak Texas A&M Kingsville opponent with an 82-64 victory.
It was the second time the two teams have played this season, and it was the same result for the Wildcats as the first time – a win. This game went quite different than the first, though.
Two weeks ago at Moody Coliseum, Kingsville took the Wildcats into overtime before the ‘Cats eked out an 84-82 win. The trip to Kingsville went much smoother than the home game as the Wildcats dominated all but the first 4 minutes.
“There is always the chance of a letdown especially coming off our huge win against West Texas,” Head Coach Shawna Lavender said. “The trip to Kingsville is tough but I felt good about where we were.”
After going down 5-0 the ‘Cats clawed back and knotted it up at 6-6 at the 16:36 mark of the first half. Freshman Renata Marquez then proceeded to hit back-to-back 3-pointers to double the Javelinas’ score 12-6. It was easy sledding from there as ACU’s lead swelled to 23 at the break 47-24.
The second half was much of the same as the lead ballooned to 30 at one point with the score finally settling down at an 18-point margin.
“Their record isn’t great, but they have lost a lot of close games,” Lavender said. “We played like we knew we were the better team.”
Mack Lankford, the leading scorer in the LSC South was at it again pacing the field with 21 points and seven assists. Junior Kelsey Smith had a career night with 19 points and 16 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. The 16 boards match her season high she set in a game early in the season against Texas-Permian Basin.
The win greatly helps the Wildcats playoff push. ACU (9-13, 6-4) sits in a tie for third place in the LSC with Angelo State. The Rambelles do hold the tiebreaker over the ‘Cats thanks to a season sweep of the Wildcats last week. Also, the Wildcats hold a 1.5 game advantage on fifth place Midwestern State. If the current standings hold, then the ‘Cats would be able to grab the last playoff spot in the South, but would have to play the top seed from the North, currently Northeastern State.
Another critical game is up next for the Wildcats as they play the sixth place team in the standings, Incarnate Word. It is technically a home game for the Wildcats, but because of Sing Song preparations, the game will be played in McMurry University’s Kimbrell Arena. Tip off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
“The important thing for us is that we prepare like it’s a normal home game,” Lavender said. “We will do the same thing that we do when we are in our gym, and it should be about the same because we will have our home fans.”