Women’s Basketball handily defeated Howard Payne University 87-52 in its first home game, due in large part to double-double performances by senior Sydney Shelstead and junior Sierra Allen. The victory followed a pregame ceremony which lowered the Wildcat’s 2015-16 conference championship banner.
ACU’s record goes to 1-1 in official play after a loss to No. 24 Missouri. ACU was HPU’s first game of the season, as they fall to 0-1.
The game started off strong for the Wildcats, and continued from there. The Wildcats out scored HPU 25-13 in the first quarter, which included a 16-0 run to start the game before HPU scored its first field goal, a three-pointer from Djimonii Jackson, and had a 41-27 lead at the half. In the third quarter, however, ACU took a commanding lead after a 21-6 run, before running away with the game in the fourth, with the largest lead of 37 points, five minutes before the end of the game on sophomore McKenzie Martin’s three.
Allen had a standout performance with 13 rebounds and 12 points, her first double-double of her college career. Shelstead lead the team in points with 20, along with grabbing 11 rebounds on her way to a double-double, her 20th at ACU. Shelstead also knocked down all four of her free throws, and set a new career-high in steals with 6.
The Wildcats dominated on virtually every statistic, out-rebounding the Ladyjackets 60-26, and out shooting them, shooting 47.3 percent from the field. They also held HPU to 31.7 percent, including an 18.5 percent three-point percentage, as they missed 22 shots from behind the arch.
Head coach Julie Goodenough said that although there is room for improvement on both sides of the ball, she was very pleased with what she saw from the ladies on the court.
“It was a really good team victory in our home opener,” Goodenough said. “Our starters have set the tone with their defensive intensity. We want to be the most aggressive team on the court, and that mentality has helped us jump out to early leads.”
ACU continues its home stand Friday and Saturday as part of the Women’s NIT Consolation Bracket. The Wildcats play against Omaha at 6 p.m., and play either UT Rio Grande Valley or North Texas, who play directly after the Wildcats on Friday. ACU plays Saturday regardless of their result against the Omaha Mavericks.