Following ACU’s win against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sunday, the team has been preparing for its NCAA tournament debut against the top-ranked team in the nation.
Head coach Julie Goodenough emphasized just how honored they were to represent the Southland conference in ACU’s first tournament appearance.
“We’re just so excited to be here,” Goodenough said. “It’s a privilege to represent Abilene Christian University in the NCAA tournament, and we’re excited that we’re playing Baylor. We’re excited that we’re playing at a location where our fans can come and see us play at our first experience in the NCAA tournament.”
The Baylor Bears are 31-1 on the season, which has put them on the pedestal of women’s college basketball. They’ve been ranked No. 1 in the country for the past eight weeks and are boasting a 23-game winning streak.
The Wildcats will have their hands full defensively when they go up against senior center Kalani Brown. Brown leads the team averaging 15.7 points per game and shoots the ball at a 62 percent clip ranking seventh overall in the nation.
Junior forward Dominique Golightly said they plan to stop Brown as a team.
“Just going to execute our scout what we’ve been preparing for the last couple days and go out there and work hard and do our best to contain them,” Golightly said.
Goodenough, although in the Southland conference, has coached against Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey on multiple occasions.
“I think this is my eighth time I’ve coached against coach Mulkey,” Goodenough said. “I have so much respect for her. Her teams are so well coached.
“Her staff does such an excellent job recruiting players for her style of play and players that will respond to her coaching. They are tough to beat, year-in and year-out. They have dominated the Big 12 for a decade. There’s no one even close to Baylor right now in the Big 12.”
The Bears finished off the regular season undefeated in the Big 12 going 18-0 during conference play. Their postseason play has also started on the right track winning the Big 12 tournament for the 10th time in program history and its ninth in the past 11 years.
“We are just really excited to be here,” Junior guard Breanna Wright said. “This is a great opportunity for our team as a whole and we’re just excited to take this challenge on.”
Wright, an all-conference player for this season, won Southland tournament MVP following 16 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in the championship game against the Islanders.
This time around, the Wildcats will be heavy underdogs going into Saturday’s game on the biggest stage in program history when they face Baylor. Only one 16 seed team has beaten a one seed in women’s NCAA tournament history. We’ll see what both teams have in store for us this weekend.