ACU (2-1) earned its second straight home win of the season as they took down NAIA team, University of Southwest (1-3), 77-36.
Along with the Wildcats getting their second win at home, the team got the win just in time for Kids Day. Over a thousand elementary students from Taylor County and the surrounding areas were present at the game, and according to head coach Julie Goodenough, their presence and energy were felt throughout the entire game.
“It is a really neat way for us to just kind of reach out to the big country and get some elementary kids to come to campus,” Goodenough said. “They bring lots of energy and live and die on every shot. I felt bad when we went several minutes without a shot in the second quarter. It’s like, come on, the fans are ready, they’re ready to scream. That’s why we love this event and look forward to it every year.”
For the third straight game, the Wildcats’ starting five stayed the same for the third straight game –
- Bella Earle, sophomore guard from Corinth
- Zoe Jackson, sophomore guard from McKinney and transfer from Butler University
- Madi Miller, graduate guard from Wylie
- Addison Martin, sophomore forward from Shreveport, Louisiana
- Maleeah Langstaff, graduate forward from Asheville, North Carolina and transfer from Northeastern State
From the opening tip, ACU was in control of the game. Within the first four minutes of the first quarter, the team had already been on an 18-0 run, and went on to finish the first quarter with a 27-6 lead.
“The first quarter couldn’t have been scripted any better,” Goodenough said. “Our starters did a great job and following through their game plan and get the ball where we felt like we could be successful with it defensively. They were on point.”
The second quarter, the Wildcats did see some struggles offensively, only outscoring the Mustangs 11-7. But in the second half, Goodenough’s team had the 39-23 scoring advantage, helping seal the 41-point win.
In the win, the Wildcats finished shooting 43 percent from the field while adding seven made 3-pointers. Goodenough’s squad earned 36 of their points from the paint, while generating 23 of their points off of Southwest’s 20 turnovers. The Mustangs were not the only victims to turnovers though, with ACU finishing the game having 16 turnovers.
The game also saw every single Wildcat contributing to the scoring column, with three players scoring in double digits. Leading the way was sophomore forward Addison Martin with 12 points in 20 minutes of play. Close behind her was graduate forward Maleeah Langstaff, who finished the game with 10 points while adding four rebounds.
The final player scoring double digits coming off the bench was freshman guard Claire Graham from Jim Ned High School in Tuscola. The Big Country native finished the game with 10 of ACU’s 32 bench points in the presence of multiple kids from her school district she knew personally. And, according to Graham, it gave her appreciation for being proud of where she is from.
“Coach always says like be proud of where you’re from and I’m proud of being from Jim Ned,” Graham said. “All those kids, they think I’m some superhero, I’m not, but that’s what they think. It was awesome just to see them and it gave me a sense of pride of where I came from.”
Mirroring the first week of the season, ACU now heads to San Antonio to take on Conference-USA team, the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners. The Wildcats are returning a favor after the Roadrunners traveled to Abilene last year, where the Wildcats took the win, 72-53. But before the matchup, Goodenough has plenty of things she wants to work on with her team.
“We’ve got to finish better in the paint,” Goodenough said. “That’s a focus thing we work on daily back there, so we’re going to work on it even more. You know, we’ve got to be able to finish shots in the paint. We’ve got to cut down on careless turnovers. For the most part today, I felt like we were just careless with the basketball, so we’ve got to take more pride in valuing the ball.”
The Wildcats and Roadrunners rematch begins on Sunday at 2 p.m. and will broadcast live on the ACU Sports Network.