The win was ACU's 11th of the season (11-3), sixth in conference play (6-2) and 300th of head coach Julie Goodenough's collegiate career. Prior to taking over for the Wildcats last spring, Goodenough won 188 games at Hardin-Simmons, 23 at Oklahoma State and 78 at Charleston Southern. She now owns a career record of 300-223 and .574 winning percentage.
For Incarnate Word (9-6), the loss dropped them into fourth place in the conference at 5-3 behind Tarleton State, Midwestern State and ACU.
The Wildcats came back from a small deficit early in the second half with a 13-4 run, but started to falter offensively following the third media timeout taken with 7:34 to go. The Cardinals responded in kind with a 9-0 run capped by a steal and fast-break layup by Ashlyn Green at the 5:07 mark that gave them their final lead of the game at 60-58.
Still trailing by two with four minutes left, the Wildcats started to drive the lane and picked up several shooting fouls that subsequently led to eight trips to the foul line. ACU took advantage and went on to make 14 of 15 freebies down the stretch and in between received a huge 3-pointer from Newman that gave the Wildcats some breathing room at 66-61 and 2:02 remaining.
ACU finished the game 22-27 (.815) from the charity stripe and were 17-22 in the second half. Freshma Whitney West made all five of her attempts, while Mack Lankford and Renata Marquez each went 5-6.
Marquez led all scorers with 18 points and was 6-9 from the floor. Lankford contributed 16 and Sadie Dickinson had 14 as the Wildcats won their fourth straight.
The defense, meanwhile, held UIW to .365 shooting (23-63) and forced the Cardinals into 23 turnovers. Incarnate Word also was hampered by 10 missed shots from the foul line, going 11-21 -- 5-11 in the second half. Joslin Douglass came off the bench to lead UIW with 15 points.
ACU led the entire first half and entered the break up 35-22 after receiving eight points apiece from Lankford and Marquez. West and Smith, meanwhile, each dropped in seven.
After leading by as many as 14 points at 26-12 with 8:02 remaining, the Cardinals caught fire late as Douglass and Katie Novak combined for 21 bench points on 8-12 shooting (4-5 3-pointers). Douglass' first trey cut ACU's lead to six and then she made three more buckets following the final media time out in keeping it a two-possession game. Novak's third 3-pointer went in with 25 seconds left as UIW ended the half on a 20-9 run.
UIW remained hot to the start the second half and grabbed their first lead of the contest at 37-35 following a Michelle Hale layup. Marquez and Dickinson, however, countered with a pair of three's that brought the lead back to ACU at 44-42. The lead would change hands six more times from there.
The Wildcats return to action Saturday at 1 p.m. at Texas A&M-Kingsville (3-10, 1-6 LSC).