After a long week that included three games, ACU concluded with a victory over Northern Colorado on the road, 81-61.
“I’m really proud of our players, especially since it is always tough to travel, play on the road and beat a good team on the road,” said head coach Julie Goodenough. “This was the first time the team has left Abilene, and our team responded very well. They’ve been really locked in and the score showed that our players were ready to play.”
The game remained close throughout the entire first quarter, with the Wildcats only leading by one point at the end of the final 10 minutes. Then, ACU went on a 12-0 run at the start of the second quarter. After that run, ACU kept a commanding lead throughout the remainder of the game.
Leading the way for the Wildcats’ offense was senior guard Anna McLeod. She followed her 22 points against UT-Permian Basin with a career-high 28 points while shooting 7-9 from the 3-point line. In her 39 minutes of playing, McLeod also brought in four rebounds, three steals and one assist.
“Anna played really tough tonight,” said Goodenough, “she played through some fatigue tonight, but she rose to the occasion. She was shot ready and played really tough on offense for us tonight. She scored over 20 points in all three games we’ve played this week, so she has had a phenomenal week this week.”
Following McLeod in scoring was sophomore guard Kamryn Mraz, who had another career-high night with 16 points, as well as three steals, three rebounds and one assist. Tied with Mraz in scoring was senior forward Makayla Mabry, who served as a spark off the bench. Along with her 16 points, Mabry had four made 3-pointers, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
As a whole, ACU shot 50% from the field while shooting 14-26, or 54%, from the 3-point line.
“Shooting from the 3-point line has been a huge emphasis for us offensively,” said Goodenough. “So I was really proud of our players of being shot ready and knocking them down while they were playing in someone else’s gym. In the last two practices, the team has been shooting the ball well, so it was good to see that carried over into the game.”
The offense was not the only thing the Wildcats did well in this game. Defensively, the Wildcats held the Bears to shooting 46% from the field and 38% from the 3-point line. ACU also caused Nothern Colorado to commit 20 turnovers and stole the ball 15 times.
The Wildcats defense and hustle helped create extra opportunities on the offensive end, which, according to Goodenough, led ACU to make the big runs that allowed them to take control of the game.
“The team has made some strides defensively today,” said Goodenough. “When we can force turnovers, we are pretty good at scoring quickly on the other end. That has been a point of emphasis for us. We’ve been wanting to play with high hands and get deflections. Tonight, we did a good job of getting defensive stops that allowed us to get more offensive possessions.”
After playing three games this week, the Wildcats will return home to play the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor. The Thursday game will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. and will be streaming live on ESPN+.
“We are going to reenergize over the next couple of days,” said Goodenough. “Over the next few days, we will learn about them. We’re excited to play at home, and we’re going to be ready to play well in front of our home crowd.”