ACU earned its third-straight win on the road this Saturday, as it dominated against Southland Conference foe Nicholls, 97-71.
The Wildcats got out to a quick start in the first quarter, which allowed them to remain in control for the remainder of the game. The team shot 61 percent from the field and made six 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes. The team also held Nicholls to 18 percent shooting and zero 3-pointers made in the quarter.
In the end, the Wildcats took a 34-5 lead into the second quarter.
“We always emphasize having a good start and scoring the first point of the game, and our starters were phenomenal,” said head coach Julie Goodenough. “What really jumpstarted our offense was our defense, we forced some quick turnovers that turned into early offense. We worked on how to manipulate their zone heading into the game, and in the first few minutes we got wide-open shots ”
The Wildcats began to slow down and the Colonels began to find their rhythm, but the damage done to Nicholls in the first proved to be too much for them to overcome. They finished Saturday shooting 48 percent from the field and 25 percent from deep. But the Wildcats topped them in both categories, finishing 51 percent from the field and 39 percent from the 3-point line.
Five Wildcats found themselves in double figures by the time the final buzzer sounded on Saturday. Some of those include redshirt junior forward Sarah Griswold with 12 points, senior guard Madi Miller and graduate transfer forward Emma Middleton with 11 apiece and senior guard Kamryn Mraz with 10 points.
But it was graduate transfer guard Jaime Bonnarens that led the charge offensively for the Wildcats.
She led both teams in scoring with 19 points while adding five rebounds and three assists to her totals. This was the fourth-straight game that Bonnarens finished with over 10 points, dating all the way back to ACU’s matchup with Kansas State.
“It took her a few games to get back into the swing of things after she had knee surgery, but Jaime has been playing really well for us,” Goodenough said. “She has been one of our most consistent players on both ends of the floor. She’s a smart player, shoots well from the 3-point line, and is a crafty player in the paint. ”
With the Wildcats being on a three-game win streak, they have gotten wins over high-quality teams, including two Sun Belt Conference powerhouses, Little Rock and Arkansas State.
“These games are an example of how we have high character women in this program,” Goodenough said. “They were three very different games that had a different flow to them, but it allowed us to learn different things about our team and which players we need on the floor when there is adversity. But I am super pleased with where we are right now.”
Now the Wildcats return home for the first game at home for two weeks, and the start of a six-game homestand. Their first matchup will begin with a Horizon League Conference matchup against Wright State.
“We’re really excited about hosting them,” Goodenough said. “they have a brand new coaching staff, so they have a different style of play, stressing being more fundamentally sound and being a good team defensively. We got time to focus on ourselves for a few days, but it will be a crucial scouting report and game for us.”
The Wildcats (6-1) and the Raiders (0-7) will square off on Sunday, Dec. 12. The game in the Teague Center will tip-off at 1 p.m., with the game streaming live on ESPN+.