COMMERCE - The ACU Wildcats punched their ticket to the Lone Star Conference Post-Season Tournament on Wednesday as they rallied from a five-point halftime deficit to knock off Texas A&M-Commerce, 75-61, at the Lion Fieldhouse.
The win pushes the Wildcats to 16-4 overall and 11-3 in the LSC and clinches their spot in the post-season tournament after missing last year's tournament. First-year head coach Julie Goodenough has her team in third place in the LSC standings with six games to play, including a crucial contest Saturday at 5:30 p.m. when it hosts second-place Tarleton State at Moody Coliseum.
The TexAnns improved to 15-4 overall and 11-2 in the LSC on Wednesday with a 75-48 whipping of Angelo State in Stephenville. ACU has lost eight straight games against Tarleton State and hasn't beaten the TexAnns since a 77-71 win in Abilene on Jan. 28, 2009.
Midwestern State remained in first place in the league standings Wednesday night with a 58-55 win at West Texas A&M that pushed the Lady Mustangs to 12-2 in the LSC, while the Lady Buffs fall to 8-6. Tarleton State is in second in the league at 11-2, one-half game behind Midwestern, while ACU is in third at 11-3, one game behind Midwestern and one game ahead of fourth-place Incarnate Word (10-4).
The Wildcats trailed the Lady Lions 33-28 at halftime Wednesday night in their final trip ever to the Fieldhouse, but shot 57.7 percent in the second half (15 of 26) and limited Commerce to just 30.3 percent shooting from the field (10 of 33) in the final 20 minutes to pull out the win.
ACU outscored the Lady Lions 47-28 in the second half as the Wildcats - who could meet Commerce in the conference tournament in Allen - ran their all-time record against the Lady Lions to 52-10 on Wednesday, including seven straight victories.
The Wildcats opened the second half on a 12-2 run to take their first lead since a 6-4 advantage early in the first half. Sadie Dickinson's 3-pointer with 14:39 left in the game broke a 37-37 tie and gave ACU the lead. Dickinson and Renata Marquez then followed with back-to-back jumpers to give the Wildcats a 44-37 lead with 13:20 to play.
But as would be the case throughout the second half, the pesky Lady Lions wouldn't go away. They cut the ACU lead to 46-43 with 12:35 to player after a pair of Symone Brown 3-pointers, but Marquez answered with a jumper and a 3-pointer to push ACU's lead back to 51-43 with 11:26 to play.
The Lions again trimmed the lead to 55-51 with 6:53 to play, but freshman Whitney West answered with a 3-pointer to push ACU's lead back to 58-51 with 6:38 left in the game.
After the Lady Lions once again trimmed ACU's advantage to 59-54, freshman Kynzie Newman buried a 3-pointer to make it 62-54 with 5:04 to play and the Wildcats' lead wouldn't fall below eight points the rest of the way.
Marquez finished with 19 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in her best performance in a couple of weeks. West poured in a career-high 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the floor, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. She also had five rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes.
Dickinson was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 10 points to go along with six rebounds.
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