The women’s basketball team fought until the end Tuesday night in Moody Coliseum, facing the 11-2 Midwestern State Mustangs. Despite the 90-82 setback, the Wildcats haven’t given up any momentum going forward, or the desire to attend the LSC Post-Season tournament.
Desperate to improve their 3-10 conference record, the Wildcats battled the Mustangs intensely, but allowed the Mustangs to capitalize on some early leads.
Although the ‘Cats were not down by a lot, the margin was too much to overcome in the first half.
“I felt like we came out a little flat in the first half and dug ourselves a pretty deep hole,” head coach Shawna Lavender said. “When we are playing a team like MSU, we can’t afford to give them the first 20 minutes.”
But in the after halftime, the Wildcats came back ready to fight. The ‘Cats maintained a steady pace just behind the Mustangs, not giving up.
“I thought we did a great job of making some adjustments in the second half. We played with more intensity,” said Lavender.
After falling behind 81-70 with just under 4:00 on the clock, sophomore forward Hillari Adam sank two sets of free throws, and a jumper by junior center Kelsey Smith cut the Mustangs’ double-digit lead to 81-74.
MSU’s Savannah Carver answered back with a quick layup, but sophomore guard Mack Lankford and sophomore forward Renata Marquez followed with a pair of jumpers, making the score 83-76 with just 1:18 to go in the game.
With less than a minute in the game left, a pair of Mustang free-throws and two baskets from Lankford gave the ‘Cats a chance of victory in an 85-82 game. But with 50 seconds left, the Wildcats couldn’t buy a bucket. After a series of missed shots, MSU stormed back, forcing an unanswered 5 points.
In a game as close as this one, the Wildcats have proved Â that they have what it takes to play in the Lone Star Conference Post-Season Tournament.
“I’ve said it all year. I feel like we can play with anybody,” said Lavender. “We just have to be able to do it for 40 minutes.”
The loss drops ACU to 10th place of 11 teams, and 3-10 in the LSC. The ‘Cats will have to finish the season at least 4-3 in the remaining conference games if there is any hopes of a post-season tournament bid.
Smith led the game in points scored, banking 27 points along with 11 rebounds. This game marked her second double-double in a row, and the fourth of the season. Lankford followed with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, and then Marquez with 16 points.
“The main difference was that they were making a lot of their shots,” said freshman center Paige Parliament. “They just didn’t miss any at all. But even though they kept making shots we didn’t give up and fought until the end.
The ‘Cats will take on Cameron University this Saturday at 2:00 in Lawton.