The women’s basketball team defeated the Southeastern Louisiana University Lady Lions Saturday afternoon in Moody Coliseum, 75-74, increasing their record to 12-10 overall.
The team’s now 4-7 Southland record puts ACU at fifth to last in the conference but at half a game ahead of Southeastern Louisiana (3-7).
“Playing against a good team, you know it’s going to come down to the final second,” said Julie Goodenough, head coach. “We had an opportunity to win the game on the defensive end, and I’m just really proud of our players’ effort. I was really proud of us staying in the game until the final buzzer.”
Sophomore forwards Lizzy Dimba and Sydney Shelstead led the team and collected double-doubles against the Lady Lions. Each scored 17 points and together combined for 28 rebounds compared to SELU’s 41 as an entire team.
Despite leading for the last 11:14 of the game, the Wildcats’ were never safe, having to get two stops at the end of the game against SELU’s two best players. Senior point guard Elizabeth Styles missed a jumper with eight seconds left and junior forward Nanna Pool who missed a shot with three seconds left after an ACU turnover on a travel call.
“I’m proud of our players for finishing this one,” Goodenough said. “We’ve struggled a little bit to finish the close ones, and so to be able to finish this one on two back-to-back defensive stops was a big deal for our team to not to succumb to pressure, to follow through with the game plan and finish the game.”
The Wildcats were down for nearly the whole first nine minutes but went on a 9-0 run over the next 2:41, gaining a lead they would never let go.
“Down the stretch when we went on a run and took the lead, it was our defense that really gave us the extra offensive possessions,” Goodenough said. “I’m really pleased with our players keeping their heads up and playing smart down the stretch. When we got down, it didn’t really faze our players. They continued trying to get stops on the defensive end, and that was rewarded with opportune shots on the offensive end.”
Of the team’s 11 conference games this season, seven have been decided by two or less possessions, and the Wildcats won just two of those seven. In this game, the team’s first matchup of the season to be decided by a single point, the Wildcats showed they are growing as a team and learning how to finish close games against difficult Southland opponents.
“It feels good; it feels great,” Goodenough said. “Whether you win by one or 21, a win is a win. I thought this was just an excellent example of a great team effort on both ends of the court. We know all these games are going to come down to the wire, and it’s good to be able to finish one, especially at home.”
The team’s next game will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Sam Houston State University.