Contributed by: Lance Fleming, ACU Associate Director of Athletics for Media Relations
LUBBOCK – ACU sophomore guard Whitney West drained four key free throws in the final 20 seconds Saturday afternoon as the Wildcats rallied from a three-point halftime deficit to knock off Jacksonville (Fla.), 76-72, at the World Vision Challenge at the United Spirit Arena.
ACU's win pushes the Wildcats to 8-5 overall (2-5 vs. NCAA Division I competition), while the Dolphins fall to 3-7 with the loss. The Wildcats are back in action Sunday at 2 p.m. when they take on tournament host Texas Tech. The Lady Raiders and Wildcats will be meeting on the basketball floor Sunday for the first time since 1983.
After a tight early part of the second half, the Wildcats turned a 47-46 deficit into a 66-56 lead with a 20-9 run from the 11:34 mark to the 5:21 mark of the second half. West hit back-to-back 3-pointers to kickstart the spurt before Jessica Elkins buried a 3-pointer to give ACU a 55-47 lead with 10:44 left in the game.
West buried two free throws before Suzzy Dimba hit a jumper for 59-50 lead at the 9:35 mark. Dimba hit a layup before West buried another 3-pointer to give ACU a 64-54 lead with 6:03 to play. Dimba capped the run with a pair of free throws to make it a 10-point contest (66-56) with 5:21 to go in the game.
But Jacksonville answered with a 12-2 run that got the game tied at 68-68 with 1:55 left. Stephanie Edwards – who finished with four points – tied the game with a layup. Dimba and Edwards traded baskets to leave the game tied at 70-70 with 54 seconds to play.
ACU, though, had more left in the tank than did the Dolphins during the final 40 seconds. First, freshman post Sydney Shelstead hit a layup to give ACU a 72-70 lead with 39 seconds to play before Madison Scott missed a layup with 26 seconds to play and Shelstead picked up the rebound. West was fouled with 20 seconds to play and she knocked down both free throws to make it a 74-70 game.
After Jacksonville's Briona Brown knocked down a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left to make it 74-72. But, forced to foul, Jacksonville's Sherranda Reddick fouled West, who hit two more free throws with 11 seconds to play to seal the victory.
The Wildcats hit 25 of 60 shots from the field (41.7 percent), including 10 of 30 (33.3 percent) from 3-point range. The Wildcats made up for being out-rebounded 47-26 by forcing 28 Jacksonville turnovers.
West led the Wildcats with 20 points on 4 of 11 shooting from the field (4 of 10 from the 3-point range) and 8 of 8 shooting from the free throw line. Freshman Alexis Mason had 10 points and six rebounds, while senior Renata Marquez had 11 points, three rebounds and four assists. Lizzy Dimba had 11 points and two rebounds.