The Wildcats (12-13, 6-8) hosted the Tarleton State Cowboys (7-18, 1-13) in Moody Coliseum Thursday night, with the team able to secure the 500th win for head coach Julie Goodenough, 78-60.
Goodenough and the team celebrated her 500th career win throughout her 29 years as a head coach, with 11 of those years spent at ACU. Goodenough was joined on the court after the game by her family, and said she is grateful for them and all the people who poured into her throughout her career.
“There’s been so many people who poured into me and invested in me and my programs,” Goodenough said. “I’ve had a lot of great assistant coaches and players from Hardin Simmons, Oklahoma State, Charleston Southern and here. I really appreciate the chance to get to be a college coach and a head coach. I’m thankful for my husband and two daughters, they’ve been with me through all of it so it will be great to celebrate this when with my family.”
As for the game itself, ACU came into this game with energy, sophomore forward Addison Martin started the game off with a bucket. Then sophomore guard Aspen Thornton came in and scored a three-pointer which made the score 5-0. Within the first seven minutes of the game, the score was 10-2. By the end of the first quarter, ACU started the game with a strong lead of 21-8.
“The start of the game really sets the tone for the whole game,” Goodenough said. “You don’t want to be playing behind from the get-go. We shared the ball well, got offensive rebound and pounded the ball in the paint. The execution in the first ten minutes were pretty high level.”
Starting the second, senior guard Madi Miller scored a triple and Martin a bucket which then gave the Wildcats an 18-point lead. Even though ACU had a good start Tarleton was not done yet. They started to come up and tried to brush off some of the dust ACU had left behind. By the end of the second quarter, the score was 41-34.
“Coming back in from the first half we were just trying to find the same energy we had in the first quarter,” Martin said. “We were in a huddle and we told each other that we had to pick it up because we’re going to win this ball game.”
Coming into the second half, Tarleton came in hot and scored a three-pointer, but Martin and sophomore guard Bella Earle came in and pushed the Wildcat score back up to 45-38. While ACU was still trying to find the energy that they had in the first half, Tarleton came up and made the game into a one-point game by the end of the third quarter 52-51.
“The team was locked in,” Goodenough said. “There was a seriousness about our starters and they were ready to go take care of business.”
Starting the fourth, Tarleton made a three to open the fourth which gave them a two-point lead 54-52. But ACU came back and had a 20-0 run in the span of four minutes. This run started to roll with two three-pointers from Thornton. After three layups and five consecutive free throws, ACU came back from being down by two and had an 18-point lead.
“Aspen hitting the first two three-pointers all of the energy piled up and it all came out at once,” said Miller. “That was a fun moment and that is why we do it.”
At the end of the game, Martin led the Wildcats with a total of 18 points, and Miller and Thornton were not that far behind her. Miller with 17 total points and Thornton with 16. The team scored 11 three-pointers with most of them being in the first and fourth quarters. Earle had the most rebounds with a total of eight which gave the team a total of 35 rebounds.
Up next, the Wildcats will face Goodenough’s alma mater, the UT Arlington Mustangs, in Arlington at 2 p.m. on Saturday with the game streaming on ESPN3 and the ACU Sports Network.
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