ACU suffered its second loss of the week on Wednesday at the hands of the Sam Houston State, 75-55. With the loss, ACU now sits at ninth seed in the Southland Conference.
The Wildcats’ struggles started in the first quarter. After exchanging a few points at the beginning of the game, the Bearkats went on a 10-0 run to take an early lead. By the end of the quarter, Sam Houston had a 13-point lead, with a lot of points coming from ACU’s mistakes.
Following the rough first quarter, the Wildcats were able to play even with the Bearkats. But no matter what ACU tried, the team could not overcome the deficit created in the first quarter.
“You can’t get down double-digits in the first quarter to a team like Sam Houston,” said head coach Julie Goodenough. “We allowed them to get too deep, and they elevated over us and made shots. Once we slowed down the drives a little bit, we were able to play with them, but you really can’t get behind like we did in the first quarter.”
One problem that haunted the Wildcats once again was turnovers. ACU set a new season-high in this category, totaling 30 turnovers by the end of the night. Sam Houston capitalized on those turnovers, finishing the night with 23 points off of ACU turnovers.
ACU’s 3o turnovers on Wednesday night’s game also was the third-most turnovers the Wildcats had in a game during their time at the Division One level. This game came close to the most turnovers ACU had in a game, which currently sits at 31 turnovers.
After having a quiet month in February, junior guard Madi Miller led the Wildcats’ offense. She finished the game with 19 points, her first double-digit game since January 16. She also tied Bearkat junior forward Amber Leggett with the most points scored among both teams.
Even though she played well, Miller acknowledged how she and the Wildcats need to clean up their game.
“We have to do better with sticking to our principles,” Miller said. “Making sure to control what we can control and not throw the ball away. Just being able to come out and take care of the ball, be open for each other and getting open on the wings should help minimalize our mistakes in the future.”
One Wildcat who played well despite ACU’s struggles was freshman guard Taylor Morgan. Coming off the bench, Morgan tallied 12 points, setting a new career-high. She did this while shooting 50 percent from the field and the 3-point line.
Morgan credited her teammates as one of the reasons she could have a career night on Wednesday.
“My teammates were good at setting screens,” Morgan said. “We have talented post players, so they drew the defense inside, allowing me to have some open lanes and take the ball to the basket.”
Now, the Wildcats are hitting the road to play a tough Central Arkansas team. In their previous matchup, the game came down to the wire, with ACU taking the win due to Miller’s heroics at the end of the game. The game will tip-off at 2 p.m. on Saturday and will stream live on ESPN+.
“We need to make some corrections from tonight, obviously, and we’ll look at the over video in the next couple of days,” Goodenough said. “Everyone is jockeying for the tournament right now, so all these upcoming games are very important. We have two days to prepare for Central Arkansas, and we’ll learn what we need to win on Saturday.”