ACU earned its second-straight win at home on Saturday as they defeated the University of Texas at San Antonio, 72-53.
The Wildcats and the Roadrunners both initially got out to a slow start with the game being tied at 11 towards the end of the first quarter. Then, to end the first quarter and going into the second, the Wildcats went on a 13-0 run and never looked back. The lead continued to grow in the second half including a lead of 33 points with 8:07 left in the game. However, UTSA finally got some offense working, narrowing down the game to the 19-point win the Wildcats earned.
“Our players did a really good job locking in on the scouting report,” said head coach Julie Goodenough. “Each team has strengths and weaknesses, and our players did a good job of executing what we worked on in practice that we thought would be successful.”
The one thing but the Wildcats and Roadrunners struggled with was 3-point shooting. Either team did not make a 3-point shot until midway through the third quarter, and by the end of the game, the Wildcats only made five of them. Despite the struggles from deep, ACU was able to make it up with good defense and dominating in the paint.
The team caused 19 turnovers and eight steals against the Roadrunners, allowing them to earn 12 points off of turnovers and another 12 from fast break points. The team also had 30 points in the paint despite being a smaller team and earned 23 points from the free-throw line while their opponent only had 10.
ACU’s extra effort on the defensive end and offensive effort in the paint is something Goodenough was pleased with and wants the team to continue to focus on in the next games.
“We did a really good job of getting the ball in the paint whether driving it in or feeding our posts,” Goodenough said. “We also played with really high hands and didn’t reach, plus had girls diving for loose balls and getting charges. So, going into our next game, we want to repeat what we did really well tonight.”
Ten different Wildcats contributed to the team scoring, but the score leaders in this game came from ACU’s graduate transfers. One of those transfers was forward Emma Middleton, who finished the night with 13 points, five rebounds and two blocks, all against a matchup that was three inches taller than herself.
With the showing of strong defense and dynamic offense, Middleton feels positive about the team’s offensive growth.
“It says a lot that despite the fact we weren’t able to make threes we were able to score inside,” Middleton said. “It shows we have both in-and-out and out-to-in offense, plus teamwork. Having that is awesome.”
Graduate transfer Tatum Barber tied with Middleton in scoring with 13 points. She helped make plays in the Wildcat offense with four assists and led the charge defensively with three steals.
In Barber’s eyes, the team’s defense was what helped the team come out on top.
“Defense won us the game today,” Barber said. “Our defense turned into strong offense, so we were able to score off of steals as well as get good positioning on defensive rebounds. plus earning charges helped us get so much momentum and energy. So defense definitely won us the game and get the stops that we needed whenever we had trouble scoring.”
The Wildcats will play the final game of their three-game homestand on Wednesday against the Div. II Angelo State. The game in the Teague Center will start at 11 a.m. and the game will stream live on ESPN+.