Despite having an early first half lead, the Wildcats ultimately fell to Conference-USA team, University of Rice Owls, 85-69.
After the game, head coach Julie Goodenough said that she was proud of how her team came out in the first half, but there were crucial mistakes made in the second half that her team needs to work on
“I was really pleased with our output and our energy effort,” Goodenough said. “Execution was not exactly where it needed to be in the third quarter. We had a nice, comfortable lead at halftime. In the third quarter, we came out, had a couple of defensive lapses and just kind of some offensive problems that allowed them to go on a little bit of a run.”
The starting lineup remained the same after ACU’s 89-37 win over Howard Payne. The starting five included the following players.
- 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
The Wildcats got out to a hot start in the first half, shooting a dominant 62 percent from the field and 46 percent from the 3-point line. This shooting percentage allowed the Wildcats to take a seven point lead to halftime over the much larger Rice team.
But in the second half, the Wildcats struggled with scoring, only shooting 37 percent from the field, while not making an single 3-pointer the entire half. Along with some foul trouble, the Owls were able to outscore ACU in the second half by 23 points, allowing the home team to take home the 16-point win over ACU.
Where the Owls were able to earn their points was off their rebounding and second chance points. By the end of the game, Rice out-rebounded the Wildcats 45 to 29, and with 22 offensive rebounds, they outscored the Wildcats 25-7 in second chance points.
“We’ve got the people to be a really good rebounding team, but we did not do a good job of that Sunday night,” Goodenough said. “I think we maybe took some plays off where we could have had some extra possessions if we had had everybody doing their job rebounding. So that would continue to be a point of emphasis moving forward.”
One player who had a strong performance offensive for ACU was graduate forward Maleeah Langstaff. She finished Sunday afternoon with 18 points all while shooting 62 percent from the field,
When ACU found itself in foul trouble, one player that stepped in to lead the Wildcats was sophomore forward Raychael Harjo. She finished Sunday with a collegiate career-best 22 points coming off the bench while shooting 10-14 from the field.
“We’re really counting on Raychael Harjo to be a consistent scoring threat for us,” Goodenough said. “She just has such a nice touch around the basket, but she can also extend out well beyond the three point line. She is someone that we’re going to go to a lot and she’s a bigger, stronger player out there for us.”
The Wildcats’ next game will be Wednesday in Moody Coliseum as they take on NAIA team University of Southwest for Kids Day. And according to Goodenough, it’s a game fans will not want to miss.
“It’s like you’re at a rock concert,”Goodenough said. “It’s pretty phenomenal. We appreciate all the the local schools in the Big Country bringing, if not their whole school, bringing several grades out to watch the game. Also, no one at ACU has anything going on since the game is during reserved chapel time, so we know that every student, faculty, staff, is open. I would encourage everybody to come out and watch that game, it’ll be really exciting and fun.”
The Wednesday morning game will tip off at 11 a.m. and will stream live on ESPN+ and the ACU Sports Network.