ACU concluded its season Saturday in Waco against the Baylor Lady Bears 95-38. With the loss, they finish 23-10 overall in their first NCAA tournament appearance.
Head coach Julie Goodenough for the Wildcats congratulated Baylor and wished them best in the tournament.
“We are honestly huge fans of Baylor and hope they go on to win the national championship,” Goodenough said. “Love Kim Mulkey, and she does a great job with this program, and hopefully they will stay healthy and make a great run through the tournament and bring the national championship back to Texas.”
With the Lady Bears win, they move to 45-15 all-time in the NCAA tournament, all under coach Kim Mulkey.
Starting off the game, Baylor jumped out with a 20-0 run. The Wildcats shot a dismal 1-17 (5.9 percent) in the first quarter putting them in a 26-3 hole at the end of the first quarter.
The Lady Bears also dominated the rebound game grabbing 61 throughout the game, a team record in the tournament, compared to ACU’s 25.
Goodenough believed that her players did all they could do, given the fact they had a serious height disadvantage.
“They are just so much bigger than our players. We were trying to double- and triple-team post players and tonight, they shot the ball so well from the three-point line, as well. So it’s kind of a pick your poison.
“But the size disadvantage, I don’t know what else we could have done, and they beat us at transition a lot I think because of the size.”
Baylor finished the day with nine three-pointers shooting 69 percent, the highest percentage ACU has allowed an opponent to shoot behind the arc all season.
Junior center Lexi Kirgan led the Wildcats in points finishing 4-5 with 10 points and played a season high 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, senior guard Sara Williamson was subbed out of the game with just about two minutes left and received a standing ovation from Wildcat fans.
“One of the amazing things is the community we are surrounded with,” Williamson said. “These fans, they have traveled for miles to come and support us and watch us play. That’s just something we’ve always been appreciative of. To have them here for the last game of my career is pretty amazing, and I really appreciate it.”
Senior center Kalani Brown led the Lady Bears with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The 6’7 senior shot the ball 6-9 on the day and is currently ranked seventh in the nation in shooting percentage.
Looking forward, Goodenough is focused on winning more games next season, even matchups they’re not supposed to win.
“We need to beat somebody big, someone in a perceived higher conference than us. We’ve got to beat somebody we’re not supposed to beat. We need to win the conference championship, the regular season, and we need to win the tournament so that we’re not a 16-seed next year.
“You want to be able to jockey your position a little bit in the NCAA tournament where you can win a ballgame, and as long as we’re 16, it’s going to be really, really hard,” Goodenough said.
The team will look very similar to this season only losing Williamson. In addition, they’ll be adding junior guard Anna McLeod who sat out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.
McLeod played in all 31 games as a sophomore at Louisiana Tech averaging five points and a couple rebounds.
ACU will likely be the favorite to win the Southland conference next season, hoping to win back-to-back conference tournaments after a historic run this year.