With a 66-58 over Southland Conference rival Incarnate Word, the women’s basketball team secured a share of its first-ever regular season conference championship.
The Wildcats started out a little a bit slow as the Cardinals jumped out to a 10-4 lead halfway through the first quarter. ACU found its groove after seven straight points from junior guard Alexis Mason who sparked a 15-2 scoring run to create a 19-12 advantage after 10 minutes of play.
Mason kept her streak alive, scoring 12 or more points for the 17th consecutive conference game as she finished with 13 points and six steals.
UIW cut the lead to five on the first bucket of the second quarter and the game wavered between a five and seven-point Wildcat lead. With four seconds left in the half, junior Suzzy Dimba knocked down two free throws to push the lead to nine points, before the Cardinals converted a free throw to make it 34-26 at halftime.
Dimba led the way on offense and defense for the Wildcats as she finished just three blocks shy of a triple double with 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks. The seven blocks is a single-game ACU record, as the double-double is her 28th career double-double and the 19 points gives her exactly 1,000 career points.
After Dimba opened up the second half scoring with a fastbreak layup to push the lead to 10, Incarnate Word ripped off an 11-0 run to take the lead 37-36 with 3:51 left in the third. Senior Whitney West hit her only three-pointer of the game to cap off a 9-4 run to end the quarter, but ACU clung to just a four-point lead heading into the final frame.
West finished the game with 14 points, going 9-12 from the charity stripe and registered her 229th career three-point field goal. At 229, West would need to show a few glimpses of NBA star Stephen Curry on Saturday to catch Ashley King who holds the all-time record at 239.
Incarnate Word cut the lead to two less than a minute into the final quarter, but the Wildcats quickly pushed the lead back to seven with scores on three straight possessions. Despite the Cardinals best efforts ACU was able to hang on to its lead, as senior guard Paris Webb made two free throws with 12 seconds left to clinch a 66-58 victory.
Despite posting their third lowest point total of Southland Conference play, the Wildcats are in position to win the outright conference championship Saturday in their season finale against Texas A&M Corpus Christi.