Eleven lead changes ultimately capped off a wild finish at Farris Center in Conway, Arkansas Saturday afternoon. ACU came out with an impressive 67-65 win against the Sugar Bears thanks in part to a bucket by freshman guard Madi Miller with just three seconds remaining.
Miller said it was a surreal experience being able to convert on a huge shot.
“It is an amazing feeling,” Miller said. “Being in a game time situation like that as a freshman I think makes it feel a lot more exciting. It was a great read and pass by Brea. Just overall one of the coolest moments I’ve been a part of this year for sure.”
She finished with six points and two steals going 3-5 from the field in just 15 minutes of play. Miller’s minutes have increased as the season has progressed. Most recently in her last game, she drained three three-pointers in just 17 minutes of play against TAMUCC.
Junior guard Breanna Wright assisted on the play to Miller for the Wildcats’ victory. Wright said her team is starting to heat up at the right time.
“It’s a good feeling to see how strong we are competing at the end of season,” Wright said. “This is when games get tough and come down to the last final minutes, but we have stayed composed and continue to work hard. We’re playing really well together and are enjoying the success we have as a team, but are also taking it one game at a time. Now we start preparing for our next game.”
Wright finished the day with eight points and four assists playing all 40 minutes.
The Wildcats shot 46 percent from the court while ACU’s solid defense held the Sugar Bears to 35 percent on the evening. However, throughout the game ACU struggled to protect the ball finishing with 22 turnovers. At the midway point, ACU trailed 35-34.
Later in the third quarter, ACU went on a 10-1 run capped off by a three-pointer by Wright with just 2:53 left in the quarter to give the Wildcats a 51-44 lead. However, the Sugar Bears answered back in the fourth.
Central Arkansas senior guard Kamry Orr led the game in scoring finishing with 25 points on 8-19 shooting. She also was grabbing rebounds left and right finishing with seven in total and five assists to add to her impressive resume.
The Sugar Bears regained momentum thanks to Orr in the final quarter taking back the lead with 4:59 left. With 1:23 left, Golightly was fouled and went one for two at the free throw line to tie the game at 65. After two missed three-point attempts from Central Arkansas, Williamson grabbed a defensive rebound with 27 seconds remaining. And with just seconds remaining, a pass from Wright to Miller in the paint sealed the deal for the Wildcats’ 19th win of the season.
Junior forward Dominique Golightly led the way for the Wildcats finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds, her second double-double of the season. She drained two three-pointers and finished the day 6-10 from the court.
Golightly said the team has been working hard to improve towards the end of the season.
“Overall our team has been playing pretty well,” Golightly said. “We knew how important today’s game was. I’m just focused on helping our team get the win so I’m just trying to do my part as well as everyone else on our team.”
Junior Center Lexi Ducat was also a big contributor for ACU finishing off with 15 points on just 4-7 shooting and six rebounds to compliment her scoring.
Ducat said her team picked up a lot of positive momentum in Saturday’s game.
“I’m really excited about how our team has been playing,” Ducat said. “It’s the best we have played all year. I think this is exactly the momentum we need going into the tournament.”
With the Wildcat’s win today, they remain tied for third place in the conference with two games remaining.
Up next, ACU travels to Nacogdoches to face SFA Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Meanwhile, Central Arkansas will be battling for tournament berth when they take on Sam Houston State Wednesday at 7 p.m.