ACU women’s basketball team is currently halfway done with conference play and one month away from their final Southland Conference tournament appearance.
After the Wildcats’ season in 2020, people may have thought ACU’s time in conference play would be smooth-sailing. That has not been the case so far.
The women’s team entered into conference play with only two losses on the season, all after winning games by high margins and showing plenty of promise against Texas A&M and the Hatters Classic. While in Florida, a new leader among the Wildcats’ roster emerged and has continued to lead the team, senior forward Alyssa Adams.
Adams currently averages near a double-double with 16.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. When ACU has struggled with shooting in games, Adams has stayed consistent. Throughout the entire season, Adams continues to serve as the player to turn to when ACU needed a boost and help them win games.
But despite Adams’s incredible senior season, the Wildcats have had many ups-and-downs in conference play and currently sit at 5-4 in conference play.
So, after they had a dominant start to the season outside of conference play, one might ask why the Wildcats are facing so many issues now.
One of the most significant factors was the loss of senior forward Makayla Mabry. On Jan. 16, in their game against Southeastern Louisana, Mabry suffered a concussion. Due to previous concussions she had in the past, doctors advised her not to return for the remainder of the season.
Though Mabry was not the biggest scoring threat on the team, she contributed a lot to help ACU’s success. And in the time Mabry has been out of the lineup, ACU has struggled. The Wildcats are 3-4 in the seven games that Mabry has been out of the lineup.
There have been many players on ACU’s roster trying to fill the hole left behind by Mabry. One player that has done this is junior guard Paige Embrosky, who first started against Lamar on Feb. 3. In those games, she has started to fill the hole that Mabry left, and she will need to continue to do so to help ACU be successful.
The Wildcats have struggled in many different areas on the court itself: turnovers, rebounding, 3-point shooting, and defense.
In their past few games, ACU averaged 23 turnovers per game, leading teams to take advantage and score a large number of their points off of turnovers. With their lack of size in the paint, rebounding has become another issue that head coach Julie Goodenough has emphasized that the team needs to focus on.
The Wildcats have also struggled with shooting from the 3-point line, which caused multiple problems in the Wildcats’ perimeter offense. ACU has also had their struggles defensively, suffering lapses on that end of the floor.
For ACU to stay in the top four in conference play, these problems must be addressed. The Wildcats are starting to get back on track after earning some wins, but they still have many areas they need to improve in.
If the women’s team addresses some of the above problems, they could potentially make it far in the Southland Conference tournament in March. If not, we could see what seemed to be a promising season cut short.