ABILENE - Just when it looked like ACU was about to lose control on a big lead and a huge win over Tarleton State, freshman guard Whitney West put an end to any hopes the TexAnns had of pulling out a comeback at Moody Coliseum with one of the biggest shots of her young career.
West's 3-pointer with 3:35 to play put an end to a 13-1 Tarleton State run over a nearly seven-minute span and propelled the Wildcats to an 86-70 win, snapping an eight-game losing streak to the TexAnns and pushing them into second place in the Lone Star Conference standings.
With the win, the Wildcats are now 17-4 overall and 12-3 in the LSC, while the TexAnns fall to third place in the league at 15-5 and 11-3. ACU will return to action Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. with a huge game at first-place Midwestern State, which beat Eastern New Mexico, 67-52, Saturday night to improve to 18-3 overall and 13-2 in league play.
Before Saturday night's win, the last time the Wildcats had beaten the TexAnns was Jan. 28, 2009, with a 77-71 decision at Moody Coliseum.
ACU controlled most of the game, taking a 55-36 lead at the break, thanks to 25 first-half points from Mackenzie Lankford and a steal and 3-pointer at the buzzer by Sadie Dickinson.
The Wildcats' lead was 76-54 with 10:39 to play after Dickinson buried two free throws, and it looked as if her team would coast home with the victory. But the TexAnns responded with a 13-1 run over the next 6:52 that drew them to within 77-67 with 3:47 to play. Brianna Bledsoe led the run with seven points, while Peyton Adamson had four and Erin Sims two.
After a 30-second timeout by Tarleton State, ACU came down on offense trying to not only get a good shot, but burn some clock. West, however, had other ideas as she launched a 3-pointer from the left arc just 12 seconds into the possession.
The ball hit nothing but the bottom of the net, putting an end to Tarleton's run, spurring a 9-0 ACU to re-gain control and pushing the Wildcats to an eventual 16-point victory. West, freshman Kynzie Newman and Kelsey Smith each had three points in the game-clinching run.
The first half belonged to one of the best scorers in the league as Lankford played her best half of basketball of the season, pouring in 25 points on 7 of 9 shooting, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. She was also 6 of 7 from the free throw line, pulled down four rebounds and had one assist in 16 minutes of play.
With Tarleton's defense concentrating even more on her in the second half, she had just six points in 14 minutes, but that allowed West (eight points), Smith (nine points) and Dickinson (five points) to take over the scoring load for the Wildcats.
Lankford would finish with 31 points, the second-best scoring game of her career behind a 38-point effort against Texas A&M-Kingsville on Feb. 19, 2012. Dickinson finished with 20 points and six rebounds, while Renata Marquez, Smith and Newman each had points for the Wildcats. West finished with eight points and had two of the Wildcats' 12 3-pointers.
Adamson finished with a team-high 21 points for Tarleton, while Kiara Wright had 13 points and a season-high 23 rebounds for the TexAnns.
KTAB Regional Forecast Western Big Country: AM June 18th, 2013
Thunderstorms Possible Not As Active As Yesterday
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