Senior nights are almost always an occasion for tears and tissues, but that was not the case for the ACU women’s basketball team. Instead, the Wildcats rallied around their lone senior, Renata Marquez, and sent her off with a victory.
ACU topped the University of Incarnate Word 90-79 in their final game of the season last Saturday before spring break. The ‘Cats end the year at 18-12 overall and 8-6 in the Southland Conference.
“Surprisingly, I didn’t even cry like I thought I would,” Marquez said. “Mainly because I knew I had left everything out on the court every game.”
After scoring 90 points and having six players in double figures for the second consecutive game, the Wildcats had plenty of reasons for excitement. Freshman Lizzy Dimba led the charge with 18 points on 7-10 shooting. Her sister, Suzzy, also had a big day with 12 points, 16 rebounds and five assists.
Sophomore guard Whitney West cashed in for 16 points while freshman guard Alexis Mason added another 14 to the mix. Freshman forward Sydney Shelstead continued to contribute off the bench with 10 points. But it was Marquez who stole the show in her final game with 15 points and a team-high of six assists.
“I have really enjoyed coaching Renata,” head coach Julie Goodenough said. “I have just so appreciated her commitment to our program and her work ethic. Her leadership will be missed.”
The game was also the last of the season for the UIW Cardinals, as they finished 2-12 in the Southland Conference. The Cardinals had five players in double figures against ACU. Junior Kosisio Mora led the team in scoring and rebounding with 17 and eight. The ‘Cats held senior Rose Whitehead, who was recently named to the Fourth Team All-Conference, to 14 points and four rebounds.
“I think our defensive intensity created turnovers and steals, and it turned into early offense for us,” Goodenough said. “We had the advantage offensively because we were getting defensive stops and just beating the other team down the court.”
With the move to Div. I, ACU is in a probationary period and cannot compete in the postseason. However, their conference record would have had them seeded seventh in the Southland tournament. While eligibility for the NCAA tournament is still a few years off, it is never too early to start.