ACU’s struggles rebounding and committing turnovers proved costly on Wednesday as they lost their first conference game of the season to Sam Houston State, 88-72.
“Unfortunately, we started the game slowly and dug ourselves a hole because we did not do a good job rebounding in the first half,” said head coach Julie Goodenough. “That really turned out to be our demise. We gave up 14 points off offensive rebounds by halftime, and we could not overcome that deficit.”
As well as having struggles with rebounding, the Wildcats committed 22 turnovers. At the same time, Sam Houston only committed nine turnovers. The Bearkats exploited this problem, used it to their advantage and outscored the Wildcats 23-12 with points off turnovers.
Despite the Wildcats’ problems with rebounding and turnovers, leading the way offensively was senior forward Alyssa Adams. She scored 27 points on 10-18 field goal shooting in 30 minutes and nearly completed a double-double with nine rebounds.
Even with all the Wildcats’ problems, Goodenough was happy with Adams’s performance.
“Alyssa’s been a consistent scoring threat for us this year, and she did the same for us tonight,” said Goodenough. “She did a really nice job finishing under pressure, was our leading rebounder once again. That was something really nice to see.”
Also scoring well for ACU was senior guard Anna McLeod. In her time on the floor, she scored 17 points on 5-11 shooting while also having seven rebounds on the night. McLeod did struggle shooting from the perimeter, finishing 0-3 from the 3-point line.
“Anna had a hard time getting open on the perimeter tonight,” said Goodenough. “But she did a really good job showing toughness and scoring off of drives, as well as getting to the free-throw line.”
Although Adams and McLeod played well offensively, the Wildcats as a whole struggled on the offensive end. Though they shot 47 percent from the field, ACU shot a season-low 14 percent from the 3-point line. The Wildcats also had 12 assists, which is the lowest they have had in conference play.
On the other side of the floor, the Wildcats struggled with stopping the Bearkats and their offense. Sam Houston shot 52 percent from the field while also shooting 41 percent from beyond the arch. They were also able to move the ball well, totaling 17 assists on the night.
Even with all the problems ACU saw in this game, Goodenough feels positive about how the locker room reacted to the loss.
“After the game in the locker room, we asked our players what did they feel like they struggled with and how can we remedy that,” said Goodenough. “I think our players had some really mature answers. They really attributed a lot of our play tonight to not working as hard against each other every day as we need to.”
ACU will have a chance to bounce back at home on Saturday against Central Arkansas. The Wildcats and Sugar Bears are scheduled to tip-off at 1 p.m. and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.
“I feel kind of excited about getting back to practice tomorrow and start our prep for UCA,” said Goodenough. “Central Arkansas is going to play really good defense like we saw tonight, try to get us out of our sets and keep us from shooting 3-pointers. We have two good days to get ready for it, and I think our team will respond really well.”