The Wildcats survived another nail-biter on Wednesday, narrowly defeating the Houston Baptist Huskies, 62-56.
ACU and HBU exchanged points back-in-forth throughout the entire first half. The Huskies went on a run during the third quarter to take a two-point lead heading into the fourth. HBU continued their run into the fourth and took the lead.
Then in the final two-in-a-half minutes of the game, ACU went on an 11-0 run to finish the game and place themselves back in the top four of the Southland Conference.
“We’ve played so many close games, so our team has figured out how to win,” said head coach Julie Goodenough. “We played really smart in the last couple minutes of the game. We got the ball in the hands of players who can score and make free throws defensive. That combined with defensive stops is what helped us win the game.”
After her performance at Lamar, senior guard Anna McLeod lead the way offensively for ACU. She scored her second-straight double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
“Anna played real tough tonight,” Goodenough said. “She had many players hang on her, making it hard for her to get open, so she manufactured points by taking the ball to the hole. She also had 11 rebounds in back-to-back games, which is huge for her and it really helped our team.”
Following closely behind McLeod in scoring was senior forward Alyssa Adams. After a low-scoring performance at Lamar, Adams brought in 17 points for the Wildcats and nearly made it another double-double with 8 rebounds.
Defense became crucial in the Wildcats’ win on Wednesday. ACU held the Huskies to only 33 percent shooting from the field and 32 percent from the 3-point line.
Seeing ACU’s defensive growth on Saturday was something that encouraged Goodenough.
“On a night where we weren’t hitting our shots, we really had to rely on defense,” Goodenough said. “I was really proud of the defensive effort and how we held a team in the fifties in their own gym. That really is a big improvement for us.”
Turnovers were not a prominent problem for ACU on Wednesday versus past games. The Wildcats were able to keep the ball in their hands more, only having 17 turnovers on the night. ACU’s turnovers are something Goodenough has focused on and wants the team to improve on throughout the remainder of conference play.
“Live-ball turnovers continue to allow teams to stay in the game with us,” Goodenough said. “When we turn the ball over away from the basket, the other team can really get out and score in transition. So we have a big emphasis on taking care of the basketball.”
ACU returns home to Abilene next Wednesday to face-off against HBU after their game against Texas A&M was postponed due to COVID-19. The game will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. and will stream live on ESPN+.