The Wildcats started the game with a 23-7 burst and rode that momentum to a 46-30 halftime lead. ACU then opened the second half with a 16-7 spurt that helped the Wildcats open up a 62-37 lead and, despite a Commerce run midway through the half, they were able to hang on for the win.
ACU first-year head coach Julie Goodenough has her team at 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the LSC, the Wildcats' first 3-0 start to conference play since the 2004-05 team started 4-0 on its way to a 20-10 season that ended in the NCAA Division II regional tournament. The Lions, meanwhile, fell to 3-2 and 1-1 with the loss, their fifth straight to the Wildcats.
The Wildcats' leading scorer, Sadie Dickinson, had five points and Mackenzie Lankford, Kelsey Smith and Renata Marquez had four apiece in the team's game-opening 23-7 run to help put ACU in command. Lankford scored off the tip, hitting a running layup just two seconds into the contest to start a 6-0 game-opening run for the Wildcats.
Shannon Sanders, Whitney West and Savannah Smith each had two points apiece in the run, which ended with 10:41 left in the first half when Savannah Smith hit a pair of free throws to make it 23-7.
Leading by 16 points at halftime, the Wildcats expanded their lead to a game-high 25 points in the first 4:53 of the second half. Dickinson and Kelsey Smith each had five points in the run, while Marquez, Lankford and Paige Parliament each had two points.
The Wildcats' lead reached 25 points (62-37) with 15:07 left in the game when Parliament hit a pair of free throws. ACU went cold from the field in the game's final 12:41 as it hit just 2 of 15 shots. The Lions, however, weren't much better as they hit just 2 of 19 from the field over the same span.
Marquez hit a 3-pointer with 12:41 left in the game to push ACU's lead to 65-45 and the Wildcats wouldn't score from the field again until the 1:29 mark when Kelsey Smith hit a jumper to make it 78-59, meaning that the Lions were only able to trim the Wildcats' lead by one point in that span.
Kelsey Smith led the Wildcats with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Lankford had 13 points on 5 of 12 shooting from the floor. Dickinson had 12 points and Marquez added 10 as the ACU starting lineup combined to score 59 of the team's 81 points.
The Wildcats are back in action Saturday at 5 p.m. when they travel to Stephenville to take on Tarleton State in another LSC tilt at Wisdom Gym. ACU hasn't won in Stephenville since a 66-63 win over the TexAnns on Feb. 20, 2008.