In their first conference home game of the season, the Wildcats finished with a 70-62 win against the Lady Lions.
Toward the end of the game, the Wildcats were able to make crucial stops on the defensive ends, earn rebounds and get to the free-throw line. This helped the Wildcats go on an 8-2 run in the last 90 seconds of the game and secure the win.
“We had such a slow start this game,” said head coach Julie Goodenough. “We missed shots, had some careless live-ball turnovers and dug a pretty good hole in the first quarter. But I would credit our relentless rebound effort and making free throws down the stretch for helping us win this game.”
Leading the way in scoring for ACU was senior guard Anna McLeod with 23 points. She also filled the stat sheet with six rebounds, two assists and two steals. One of those steals came at a crucial time at the end of the fourth quarter, which led the Wildcats to convert on the offensive end and secure their win against Southeastern Louisiana.
“Anna played a really tough game today,” said Goodenough. “This was a physical game, and it was hard for players to get open and straight-line drive to the basket due to the physicality. She showed a lot of grit and toughness today with all the physical challenges that came her way.”
McLeod praised her teammates for their grit and toughness in this game, saying that was one reason they were able to win this game.
“We played with a lot of grit and toughness,” said McLeod. “We went into this game wanting to go after scrappy plays and dive on the ground, knowing that is what it would take to win, and we executed that. It was a tough game, but I feel great; I want to go back out there, and I am glad that we got the win.”
Another player who was crucial in the Wildcats’ win was sophomore center Sarah Griswold. In this game, she earned a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, four of those rebounds being offensive rebounds.
“Sarah brings a great work ethic every day,” Goodenough said. “You know she is going to work hard every single day, and our fans are starting to see that. She always plays at a really high level and was able to get her shots in the paint and knock those down. Plus, she was very relentless by going after rebounds on both ends of the floor.”
Griswold was proud of her teammates for never giving up and fighting hard to come out on top.
“I was so grateful that we stuck with the game and kept playing hard,” said Griswold. “We were down for a little bit, and we fought back hard, so I was very proud of my teammates for that.”
By the end of the night, the Wildcats’ defense proved the main factor for their victory.
ACU held the Lady Lions to 37 percent shooting from the field and out-rebounded them 48-27, only allowing the Southeastern Louisiana to have seven offensive rebounds.
Though the Wildcats had their struggles on the defensive end, Goodenough felt good about their defense towards the game’s end.
“They put us in some tough defensive positions,” said Goodenough, “and we got beat off the dribble quite a bit. But I feel we were locked in during the last couple of minutes in the game. We played with high hands and were ready to pick up loose balls. We had a good, intense defensive effort down the stretch.”
McLeod also credits the team’s success to their help defense in this game.
“It was hard for us to cut off their drives due to their quickness at some points,” said McLeod. “But it took a lot of trust in our defense. In knowing that if we got beat, we have a teammate ready to cover us. Then, we had to figure out what to do next quickly.”
ACU hopes to improve its 2-0 conference record Wednesday. The Wildcats will be on the road against the Sam Houston State Bearkats, who are on a two-game winning streak. The game is scheduled to tip off at 5:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on ESPN+.