ABILENE – Renata Marquez closed out her magnificent four-year ACU basketball career with another outstanding all-around performance as she led the Wildcats to a 90-79 win over Incarnate Word in the season finale for both teams at Moody Coliseum.
The win helped the Wildcats complete their first season at the NCAA Division I level with an 18-12 overall mark and 8-6 record in the Southland Conference. The Cardinals, meanwhile, finish at 8-19 and 2-12.
Marquez played 39 minutes – exiting the game to a standing ovation after she hit a pair of free throws with 33 seconds to play – and was, as usual, the Wildcats' spark plug as she finished with 15 points, five rebounds and six assists in the win. She was 5 of 12 from the field (2 of 6 from 3-point range) and 3 of 4 from the free throw line. She finished her career with 1,285 career points, 598 rebounds and 298 assists and started 94 of her 108 career games, including the final 66 straight covering the end of her sophomore season (2011-12) through the end of her senior season.
ACU never trailed as the Wildcats jumped out to a 9-0 lead that was eventually stretched out to 18-4 with 15:15 to play in the first half. Marquez had three points, two rebounds and three assists in that opening spurt to get the Wildcats off to a good start.
But the Cardinals would not go away, twice cutting ACU's advantage to two points midway through the first half at 18-16 and 21-19. After UIW cut the lead to 21-19 with 10:13 left in the half on a 3-pointer by Joslinn Douglas, the Wildcats ran off seven straight points on back-to-back layups by Whitney West and Lizzy Dimba before a 3-pointer by Marquez pushed ACU's advantage back to nine points with 8:58 left in the half.
UIW made another run back at the Wildcats, cutting the lead to two points again on a layup by Douglass with seven seconds to play, but Jessica Elkins took a quick pass from Suzzy Dimba and hit a quick jumper at the buzzer to give ACU A 42-38 lead at halftime.
ACU opened the first 4:22 of the second half with a solid run, pushing its lead to 51-42 behind layups from Suzzy Dimba and Marquez, a free throw from Suzzy Dimba, two free throws from Lizzy Dimba and a layup by Lizzy Dimba, who led all scorers in the game with 18 points.
The Wildcats eventually pushed their lead to 21 points (72-51) with 8:43 to play on a 3-pointer by West before UIW pieced together another run, outscoring ACU 21-7 over the next five minutes to cut the Wildcats' lead to 79-72 with 4:19 to play in the game. But the Wildcats took charge down the stretch, outscoring the Cardinals 11-7 in the final 3:56 for the win.
Suzzy Dimba finished the game with 12 points and 16 rebounds (tying a career-high set on Jan. 23 against Lamar), the 11th double-double of her freshman season. And for the fourth time this season, the Wildcats had six players in double figures with Lizzy Dimba leading the way with 18 points, followed by West with 16, Marquez with 15, Alexis Mason with 14, Suzzy Dimba with 12 and Sydney Shelstead with 10 in another solid performance off the bench.
ACU shot 52.5 percent from the floor (31 of 59), including 39.1 percent from 3-point range (9 of 23). The Wildcats – who entered the game third in NCAA Division I basketball third in 3-point field goals made, attempted and made per game – finished the season 291 for 873 from beyond the arc (.333 percentage). This year's team shattered the previous single-season records for 3-pointers made (old record 236 in 2012-13) and attempted (712 in 2012-13).