HAMMOND, La. - For the second time in four games and third time this season, Abilene Christian had six players score in double figures and the Wildcats pummeled the Lions of Southeastern Louisiana, 96-82, Monday afternoon at the University Center.
The victory improved ACU's record to 17-12 overall and 7-6 vs. the Southland Conference as its 96 points were the most scored this season against a league opponent. Southeastern fell to 8-20 overall with the loss and 7-9 vs. the SLC.
In shooting .507 (38-75) from the floor, all five starters - Renata Marquez, Whitney West, Alexis Mason and Suzzy and Lizzy Dimba - scored between 15 and 16 points, while freshman Sydney Shelstead came off the bench for 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 19 minutes of play. The Wildcats last had six players score 10 or more points two weeks ago vs. Arlington Baptist as well as in early November vs. Northwood.
ACU today scored 47 points in the first half to enter the break ahead by seven, and was even more impressive shooting the ball in the second half, connecting on 19-of-33 attempts for a .576 percentage. Thirteen of the Wildcats' 38 field goals were from 3-point range and they were a respectable 7-of-10 from the foul line, which included a 6-for-6 performance from Lizzy Dimba (16 points/7 rebounds).
The Wildcats' offensive totals also included 19 assists as Marquez matched her season high with seven, plus a remarkable 29 points off 20 Lion turnovers that helped offset a pair of fine shooting performances by Southeastern's Aja Gibson (24 points) and Elizabeth Styles (23 points).
Despite this game serving as SLU's home finale, the Lions claimed their first and only lead of the game 1:25 into the first half on a layup by Styles that put them ahead of the Wildcats at 4-2. But ACU scored the game's next 10 points thanks to four points from Lizzy Dimba and a pair of treys from Mason and West, who finished with a career high 19 field goal attempts.
A three-pointer from Suzzy Dimba coming out of the under-16 media timeout gave the Wildcats' their first double-digit lead of the day at 11 points, 19-8, which they were able to maintain for much of the first half until a couple of buckets by Gibson and threes from Peaches Anderson and Symone Miller cut the Lions' deficit down to six points with 8:30 to go.
But on the Wildcats' follow-up possession, Marquez pulled down one of her four offensive rebounds and kicked the ball back out to Shelstead who nailed her lone 3-pointer of the afternoon. Marquez did the same 40 seconds later, this time assisting on a 3-pointer by Suzzy Dimba that again gave ACU a 12-point lead at the 7:18 mark.
After grabbing a 14-point advantage with just under five minutes left in the first half, the Wildcats steadily began to relinquish their lead as the Lions climbed to within five points, 40-35. Styles began SLU's run with a couple of free throws followed by a 3-pointer that cut the Wildcat advantage to 11. Miller and Nanna Pool then made back-to-back two-pointers and Erica Hernandez' two foul shots capped the home team's 9-0 run.
ACU would push its lead back out to 10 on a layup by West with 40 seconds left, but Hernandez countered with a 3-pointer that made it 47-40 at halftime.
That lead came in handy as the Lions started the second half on a 8-2 run that got them within a point of tying the score. Thankfully, SLU missed a jumper on its next possession and Suzzy Dimba was able to sink in a layup. She later hit a 3-pointer with 16:10 to go, which made it a six-point game.
From there, Southeastern would get within a possession just once more at the 15:13 mark after Pool hit a jumper following her offensive rebound. ACU's response, however, was a decisive 13-2 run capped by a Cemetra Jenkins' 3-pointer that took the Wildcats' lead from two to 15 points in under three minutes.
Back-to-back three pointers from Styles brought the Lions back into game for a short while with about two minutes left, but the Wildcats finished the contest on a 6-0 run as SLU missed its final five field goal attempts.
Today's game was to have been played at Southeastern in early January when the Wildcats made their first trip to Louisiana. However, two days before the game, the Wildcats were awarded a forfeit win because of over-scheduling by Southeastern Louisiana. However, after an appeal was filed, Southeastern was granted a reprieve and the game was put back on the schedule.
The Wildcats finish their 2013-14 season at home Saturday, March 8 at 1 p.m. vs. Incarnate Word. Marquez will be honored during a pre-game ceremony. She goes into the final game of her collegiate career with 1,270 points, 292 assists and 593 rebounds.
ACU defeated the Cardinals earlier this winter, 73-67, in a game televised by ESPN3.
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