Following its first loss of the season, ACU returned home to Abilene and dominated against Div. II UT Tyler, 81-26.
The game got off to a quick start, with the Wildcats’ starting five creating a quick lead early in the game. ACU closed off the first quarter with a 14-0 run, allowing them to take control for the rest of the game.
This is something that head coach Julie Goodenough has been pleased with over the course of the season.
“Our starters did such a great job in the past few games of putting points on the board early,” said Goodenough. “We got some good defensive stops in the first quarter that turned into break offense for us. They were really ready to play and really helped in jumpstarting our team.”
This allowed for players who usually do not get many minutes to play more than usual, which allowed many of them to contribute heavily to this win.
Since many players played a large number of minutes, scoring for the Wildcats was scattered throughout the entire team. Nearly every player on the roster found themselves in the scoring column. Leading in scoring with 11 points apiece were senior guard Anna McLeod and forward Makayla Mabry.
Other players like junior forward Diamond Willcot and guard Madi Miller played well, scoring nine points and filling the stat sheet in multiple ways.
One player who had a significant impact coming off the bench in this game was freshman guard Katie Horyna. Alongside her 10 points, Horyna tallied six assists, four rebounds and two assists.
“I thought we played really good today,” said Horyna. “Plus, it’s a lot easier to play well when you have good teammates around you. All of us always know how to get the ball to each other and always know how to get a good shot for each other. We did that really well tonight.”
Offensively, the Wildcats were able to move the ball to help create multiple opportunities for each other. This led the Wildcats to tally 22 assists on the night and allowed for wide-open 3-point shots, and Wildcats were not afraid to shoot. They shot 19-46, or 41 percent, from the 3-point line while shooting 48 percent from the field.
“For the most part, everyone was really shot ready,” said Goodenough. “We did a really good job of sharing the basketball and passing the ball around the perimeter to players that were open and had good shots. Our feet were set and ready to shoot the ball, so I am really proud of their effort.”
Defensively, the Wildcats swarmed UT Tyler, not allowing them to score seven points in a quarter. ACU held the Patriots to 19 percent shooting from the field and 14 percent from the 3-point line.
ACU’s defense also caused a lot of turnovers, which allowed for more offensive possessions. With UT Tyler’s 26 turnovers and the Wildcats’ 16 steals, the Wildcats were able to get 32 points off of their defense. They also rebounded the ball well, outrebounding the Patriots 31-21 on the defensive end.
“Our defensive intensity was really good today,” said Goodenough. “In the second half, we did a good job of blocking out and pursuing rebounds. But our team needs to make sure to be consistent about that effort and locking in to finish possessions. Overall, I feel pleased with how the team plays with high hands, good ball pressure and good team defense.”
The Wildcats will get one last chance to prepare for conference play as they head to the Hatter Classic in Florida. The first game is slated against the University of Alabama Birmingham. Tip-off at 12 p.m. Dec. 19th. It will be broadcasting live on 98.1 FM, The Ticket.
“It is our final tune-up before conference play,” said Goodenough, “so we want to play really crisp and clean. We will get the chance to play two good teams, so we got to bring our A-game. Especially since these are the last non-conference games before we get into the games that really count this season.”