Defense carries ACU women to 80-41 win

January 13th, 2018 - ABILENE – Abilene Christian's defense held Northwestern State to 18 second-half points on 16.7 (4-24) percent shooting en route to a convincing 80-41 triumph Saturday afternoon at Moody Coliseum.
The victory lifted ACU's season and conference records to 12-4 and 6-0, while the Lady Demons dropped to 5-11 and 0-5. Today's win also served as the 117th for head coach Julie Goodenough (117-48, .709) on the ACU bench, tying her with Suzanne Fox (117-33, .780) for third place at the school. Burl McCoy (1976-92) ranks first with 229 Wildcat victories and Shawna Lavender (2003-12) is second with 149.
The Wildcats, which led by as many as 16 points in the first half and a dozen (35-23) at halftime, started the third quarter on a 9-0 run capped by a Dominique Golightly 3-pointer that made it a 44-23 ball game. Northwestern State didn't hit its first basket until the 6:20 mark, which was its only field goal of the third quarter, while ACU buried 5-of-9 long-distance attempts – the last of which came from Makayla Mabry with five seconds remaining.
Mabry's trey put the home team ahead by 29 points at 61-32, and after a slow start (by both sides) to begin the fourth quarter, the Wildcats kept increasing their lead thanks to buckets from Golightly (16 points), and reserves Lexi Kirgan, Josie Larson and Taudenciah Oluoch. The Wildcats also went 8-of-10 from the free throw line in the fourth-quarter with Breanna Wright going 4-for-4 to remain among the national leaders with a .901 percentage.
Wright possessed good touch through 36 minutes of playing time, leading all scorers with 21 points on 6-7 shooting (5-6, 3-point range). She scored 12 points on four triples in the first half, and in the second half, she totaled nine points with two field goals and four free throws. Wright – picked as last Monday's College Sports Madness Southland Conference Player of the Week – also pulled down three rebounds and dished out five assists.
Golightly was second on the team with 16 points – 12 of which came in the second half on 5-of-7 shooting. The sophomore added to her scoring total six rebounds, a block and four steals, while Sara Williamson (7 points) earned several career single-game highs, with 11 rebounds, six steals and four blocks.
Freshmen Larson and Kayla Galindo each tied with four assists.
ACU shot 50 percent or better over the final 30 minutes to finish with a .500 shooting percentage (28-56) for the third time this season, while the Lady Demons missed 38-of-50 (24 percent) of their shots. Northwestern State especially struggled from beyond the arc is hitting just one of 10 tries, and in the paint the Lady Demons were outscored, 32-16.
Northwestern State scored 16 points from the foul line as ACU was called for 25 personal fouls – one shy of its season high. The Wildcats, by comparison, went 12-17 from the foul line.
Nautica Grant was the Lady Demons' leading scorer with 11 points.
The Wildcats now prepare to play five of their next six games on the road starting with Wednesday's game at Stephen F. Austin. The Ladyjacks (13-3) are off to a 5-0 start in Southland Conference play with this afternoon's game vs. Incarnate Word still to be decided.

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