The Wildcats fell even further in the Lone Star Conference rankings Wednesday night, taking a 89-59 blow from West Texas A&M.
The ‘Cats trailed behind the Lady ‘Buffs in double digits nearly the entire game, never pulling ahead with a lead. West Texas A&M outscored the Wildcats 52-26 from the field, outrebounded them 48-32, forced 23 turnovers, and allowed ACU to shoot only 34 percent.
“I think we were all disappointed with our performance against West Texas A&M,” said head coach Shawna Lavender. “We know our effort was not acceptable.”
There was a glimmer of hope for Wildcats late in the first half, when a lucky run brought the ‘Cats to a 32-27 game with just under 5:00 to go. But that didn’t stop the Lady ‘Buffs from another run to finish up the half, or the 14-5 streak that began the second half with a 54-33 lead.
Mack Lankford led the team with 16 points, but the sophomore guard only made 4 of 17 from the paint. Sophomore forward Renata Marquez followed with 14 points and 6 rebounds, and freshman Paige Parliament had 10 points and three rebounds. Junior Kelsey Smith, usually among top-scoring on the team, finished the game without any points, and was pulled from the game only six minutes in after two fouls.
After such a horrible loss, ACU’s hopes of attending the LSC Post-Season tournament are quickly fading away. With a 3-12 conference record, the Wildcats are three full games behind eighth place, and securing a chance to play.
The last time the ‘Cats didn’t make the tournament was the 2005-06 season, when their conference record was 12-15.
“We are now focusing on the next game,” said Lavender. “We understand the importance of beating ENMU.”
Abilene Christian will face Eastern New Mexico this Saturday, hoping to come back with a conference win. ENMU just came off of a big 63-58 upset against Angelo State, moving up to seventh in the LSC.
A win will be essential for the Wildcats in order to have a chance at tournament play this point in the season. Without a few critical wins, the ‘Cats will continue to be pushed toward the bottom of the rankings.
Paige Parliament remains optimistic despite the loss on Wednesday, the biggest loss of the whole season.
“They have a really good post player who is a team leader in points,” said Parliament. “If we can stop Precious Herrin, I think it will really help us get a win.”
Herrin, the senior forward from Shreveport, Louisiana, has been a huge momentum shifter for the Greyhounds, leading her team in scoring against Angelo State with 18 points. If ACU shuts her down, they have a good chance of competing with Eastern New Mexico.
“We just have to keep our heads up,” Parliament said. “We have a chance if we continue to work hard from here. We have to play like we have nothing to lose, and maybe it will pay off.”
ACU will return to Abilene for action this Saturday, as they face Eastern New Mexico in Moody Coliseum at 2:00 p.m.