The Wildcats started off their season on a winning note dominating against the NAIA Southwest Mustangs at home, finishing 99-43.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, starting the game on a 21-0 run. This momentum allowed ACU to take control from the start, and continue to expand its lead to the eventual 56-point win. The team also made clear its emphasis on 3-point shooting, making 14 3-pointers in the first half and 17 in the whole game.
Heading into the game, the team felt energized and ready to play which jump started the team to a win according to tenth-year head coach Julie Goodenough.
“Our team was ready to play at the beginning of the game. They were pretty excited in the locker room, and they came out and hit on all cylinders,” Goodenough said. “Overall, I’m really pleased with their effort and the energy that they had on the bench and playing together as a team. You only get one chance to leave a first impression, and I feel like we won over some fans today that will continue to watch us this season.”
One big element of the Wildcats play on Tuesday was the entire team being involved both offensively and defensively. The entire roster earned playing time, and 13 of the 14 active players on the team contributed to the team’s 99 points. Leading the Wildcats in scoring this first game was redshirt junior guard Kamryn Mraz with 16 points accompanied by five rebounds, three assists and four made 3-point shots. Mraz credited not only her strong 3-pointer performance but also the team’s performance to ACU’s focus on being shot ready.
“One of the things we take pride in is being shot ready on the 3-point line,” Mraz said. “In the scout for Southwest, coach addressed they were going to come out with low hands and not in a good stance, so if you catch the ball and have eyes on the rim, we should pull the trigger. We did that tonight and knocked them down.”
Another player that made a statement in her performance was sophomore guard Taylor Morgan. She finished the night with 12 points on 2-3 shooting from the 3-point line and added four assists and two rebounds.
Morgan emphasized after the game was how close the team has gotten over a short period of time, and how that has helped them have a better on-court performance.
“Off the court and on the court, we are best friends,” Morgan said. “This is the closest I’ve ever been with a team I’ve played on. We have gotten really close on and of the court, and we are really starting to figure each other out.”
Now, the team will shift focus for their next matchup against the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners, who are coming off a loss against Western Athletic Conference opponent Stephen F. Austin. The Conference USA team poses
“UTSA is going to be a really good opponent and they are going to challenge us in a lot of ways,” Goodenough said. “They are going to play a fast style and be aggressive, so we got to be ready to face that. So it will be important for the team to get serious about the scout and practice over the next couple days to get ready for our next game.”
The Wildcats will face the Roadrunners in the second game of the team’s three-game homestand on Saturday night in the Teague Center. The game will begin at 6 p.m. and will stream live on ESPN+.