The ACU women’s basketball team defeated the University of Incarnate Word Cardinals Saturday afternoon at Moody Coliseum, 78-54. The Wildcats then played longtime rival Angelo Sate Monday night and came away with a 70-55 win, improving their record to 10-8 overall.
The team’s 2-5 Southland record has them tied for second to last in the conference with the Houston Baptist Huskies and just above the 0-7 New Orleans Privateers.
“You know, any win in conference play is a special win,” said Julie Goodenough, head coach. “It’s such a great conference, and you face big challenges every night regardless of who the opponent is. So this is a big win for us.”
Neither team is eligible for postseason play this season due to their division movement, but that didn’t stop the Wildcats, who now sit just half a game behind the Cardinals and Southeastern Louisiana in the conference.
“Obviously, Incarnate Word is a big rival for us,” Goodenough said. “They made this jump to Div. I and to the Southland Conference with us, so we would like to stay a little bit ahead of them, and this was good to get a convincing win on them.”
The team is coming off two heartbreaking home losses, losing 71-69 in overtime Jan. 17 to conference powerhouse Stephen F. Austin, who sit 5-2 in Southland play, and 63-58 to 4-4 Sam Houston State University on Jan. 22.
The team, which started the season 5-0 in Moody Coliseum, has since gone 0-4 at home before pulling out this win which coach Goodenough said shows the team is back to being comfortable on its own court.
“Losing those two at home really sucked the life out of us,” Goodenough said. “I think it was a mental battle for us. You know, we knock shots down in Moody like crazy in practice, and in those games we struggled a little bit, so it was nice to see our girls take the pressure off a little bit today and just finish and knock shots down they know that they can make.”
Goodenough preaches rebounding; more specifically, offensive rebounding. As a staple for the team, it was a large part of why the Wildcats overcame the Cardinals. Sophomores Sydney Shelstead, along with Lizzy and Suzzy Dimba combined for 30 of the team’s 46 rebounds compared to UIW’s 37 total as a team.
“Suzzy, Lizzy and Sydney I think are three of the best, probably top five rebounders in the conference, and it’s a real luxury to have all three on the team,” Goodenough said. “You know there’s a good chance at least two will have double-digit rebounds, and they were very intentional tonight on both ends of the floor.”
With conference games scheduled until early March, Goodenough said she and her fellow women’s basketball coaches were impressed by the team’s performance against UIW and are looking forward to upcoming conference matchups.
“I thought this was a great team victory,” Goodenough said. “Everybody played today, everybody had significant roles on defense, everybody scored, and I think that we just kind of settled down and had fun today as a team.”
The team’s next game will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Houston Baptist University.