With big wins over Stephen F. Austin, Northwestern State, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Abilene Christian has given themselves a good shot to repeat as conference champions as they sit in second place in the Southland Conference.
ACU, which has three games remaining on their schedule, currently sits a half-game back from the leader Central Arkansas, who has two games remaining for them as well as its bye week.
In ACU’s game against SFA, the game was a back-and-forth battle for much of the game as 10 ties and 17 lead changes occurred throughout this contest. This game was a big decider for sole ownership of second place as both teams came in at 10-2 in conference. Both teams wouldn’t get far ahead of the other in the first half after the Ladyjacks jumped out to a 13-3 lead, but would fall into a scoring drought that allowed ACU to tie it up, 13-13, at the end of the quarter.
The Wildcats made the first two baskets of the second quarter, allowing them to take a 17-13 lead, but wouldn’t hold the lead for long as SFA would take it back. With 22 seconds left in the half, a layup by Suzzy Dimba would bring the score to a tie again, 31-31, as they headed into halftime.
The Wildcats were able to take a decent lead in the third quarter in part to an offensive spurt, that had the Wildcats up 51-45 going into the final quarter of play. In the fourth quarter, both teams almost matched their first half efforts as they ended the quarter 29-28 in favor of ACU.
This 80-73 win gave ACU sole possession of second place in the Southland Conference. Seniro Alexis Mason shot an amazing 8-of-12 from behind the arc and finished the game with 26 points to lead the Wildcats.
On Saturday, ACU traveled to play against Northwestern State, in what would be head coach Julie Goodenough’s 100th win at the helm of the women’s basketball team.
In what seemed like a locked in win for the Wildcats as they went in to halftime up 40-33, proved to be otherwise as the Lady Demons would try their best to upset ACU’s hopes of repeating as conference champs. With seven minutes remaining in the game, the Lady Demons would take the lead and attempt to push ahead, but could never get farther than a four-point lead.
ACU would then take a short lead, before the teams would go on a back and forth lead swap. With under a minute left in the game, both teams intensified in pace as the Lady Demons would have one of their three-pointers blocked by senior Suzzy Dimba, not wanting to get out done, Northwestern St. would go down and block senior Lizzy Dimba’s layup attempt. In what seemed like all hope was lost as the Wildcats were down 74-75 with just a few ticks on the clock remaining, senior Sydney Shelstead was fouled under the basket. Shelstead made both free throws with only .06 seconds left in regulation.
Shelstead led the team in points with 18, she also added 12 rebounds to add to her double-double performance.
Wednesday ACU was in Moody to take on a Texas A&M-Corpus Christi team that is hoping keep its postseason hopes alive. The Wildcats need to win out on the rest of their schedule in hopes to at least tie Central Arkansas for first place in conference.
The Wildcats used a big second quarter to stay ahead of the Islanders for most of the game, but Corpus Christi would eventually come back from 11 down to tie the game at 55. After a pair of Mason three-pointers, the Wildcats would not look back as their lead would never fall back below six-points.
ACU moves to 19-8 overall and 13-2 in conference after their victory. The Wildcats remain a half-game back from Central Arkansas, who has two games remaining with a big one left against Stephen F. Austin, along with a bye week. The Wildcats have three games remaining with the first one coming on Saturday against Sam Houston St. (3-22, 3-12).
“We are currently just taking it one game at a time, right now we are trailing them (UCA) because they haven’t had their bye week,” Mason said. “At this point, all we can do is win the rest of our games and take care of business with our schedule. Coach Goodenough always tells us that no one is going to do us any favors. If we win the rest of the games on our schedule the worst we can do is tie for first.”