She was even better Wednesday night as she scored a season-high 33 points to lead the Wildcats to an 85-72 win over Midwestern State at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
The win snapped Midwestern State's 11-game winning streak and forced a tie between ACU and Midwestern State atop the Lone Star Conference standings. ACU and MSU are both now 18-4 overall and 13-3 in the LSC as ACU has won three straight since a shocking 81-73 loss at Eastern New Mexico on Feb. 2.
The Wildcats will be back in action Saturday at last-place Cameron as the Wildcats and Lady Aggies play for the final time ever at 2 p.m. at Aggie Gym. ACU leads the all-time series against Cameron, 19-9.
ACU led the Mustangs by 15 at halftime and pushed the lead out to 19 points (53-34) after two free throws by Kelsey Smith with 17:39 left in the game. But Lankford left the game shortly after that with a left ankle injury and MSU went on a 23-11 run to cut the lead to 64-57 with 9:31 to play.
But Lankford came back into the game shortly after and re-asserted herself with a steal and two free throws to push the lead back to 68-57 with 8:18 to play. MSU came back with another spurt to cut ACU's lead to 70-63 with 7:31 to play on a pair of free throws by Andrea Carter.
Then came what might have been the key sequence of the game. Lisa Hampton missed a layup with 7:13 to play and Lankford stuck her nose into the lane and picked off the rebound, a rarity for the Wildcats, who were out-rebounded, 45-24.
Lankford took the ball down the floor and buried a 3-pointer with 7:07 to play to push the lead back to 10 points at 73-63. MSU then came down and despite getting two good looks couldn't put a shot down. After Skyler Warrick missed a layup, the ball went out of bounds to the Wildcats.
On ACU's next possession, Lankford buried another 3-pointer to push the lead back to 76-63. The Wildcats' lead would not drop below nine points the rest of the night.
ACU scored the first five points of the game on a Kelsey Smith layup on a feed from Lankford and then a Lankford 3-pointer. The Wildcats would never trail the rest of the night. In fact, they would never lead by less than three points after Renata Marquez hit a layup on a feed from Sadie Dickinson with 14:38 to play to push the Wildcats out to an 11-6 lead.
In ACU's 76-62 home loss to Midwestern State on Jan. 3, the Wildcats scored just 21 first-half points. The Wildcats surpassed that total with 11:25 to play after Lankford hit a layup and a Kynzie Newman followed with a 3-pointer to make ti 22-11, the Wildcats' first double-digit lead of the night.
Lankford was virtually unstoppable throughout the first half, hitting 6 of 9 shots from the field, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range, and she hit 5 of 5 free throws for her 20 points. But Lankford wasn't alone as freshman guard Whitney West -- starting at the point in place of Shannon Sanders, who was back in Abilene with bronchitis -- had nine points and Marquez had seven points.
MSU cut ACU's first-half lead to 38-27 with 4:08 to play in the half before Lankford hit another 3-pointer to make it 41-27 with 3:24 left in the half. The lead was down to 12 late in the half when Marquez missed a 3-pointer and MSU got the rebound. MSU missed two point-blank shots with four seconds left and the ball was punched out to Lankford, who hit Marquez in stride with a 75-foot pass. She hit a layup and was fouled by Kirsti Degelia at the buzzer and Marquez hit a free throw to give ACU A 46-31 lead at halftime.
Marquez finished with 14 points, while Newman had 10 big points off the bench. West finished with 10 points and Sadie Dickinson had nine points.