LUBBOCK – The Dimba twins proved Sunday that you can go home again as they led the ACU Wildcats to one of the biggest wins in program history in their hometown.
Suzzy and Lizzy Dimba combined to score 25 points and grab 19 rebounds in their return to Lubbock on Sunday, but it was Lizzy's two free throws with 3.2 seconds left that propelled the Wildcats to a 58-57 win over Texas Tech in the final game of the World Vision Challenge at the United Spirit Arena.
The Dimba twins -- freshmen from Lubbock Coronado -- were playing their first games back in their hometown this weekend, and they led the way for ACU's first win over Texas Tech since Nov. 13, 1978, when the Wildcats beat the Lady Raiders, 85-67.
Just four days ago, the Wildcats lost to another Big 12 opponent when they dropped an 82-55 decision at TCU. But Sunday afternoon the Wildcats' 2-3 zone and hard work under the boards were more than the Lady Raiders could handle.
"We just played so hard and I'm so proud of our kids," said ACU head coach Julie Goodenough, whose team improved to 9-5 on the season. "We beat a good Texas Tech team because our kids played hard and believed in the system and what we wanted to do (Sunday)."
ACU took a 30-26 lead at halftime and led throughout the second half, leading by as many as 12 points on two occasions. ACU's last 12-point lead was 51-39 with 8:50 left after a free throw by Renata Marquez.
A cold-shooting Tech team began to chip away at the lead, though, by piecing together an 8-0 run over the next 1:38 to cut the Wildcats' lead to 51-47 with 7:12 left. Amber Battle – voted the MVP of the World Vision Challenge – buried a 3-pointer to cut the ACU lead to four points.
Suzzy Dimba hit a pair of free throws with 6:25 left to push ACU's lead back to 53-47 before Kellyn Schneider hit a layup and Minta Spears hit a 3-pointer to cut ACU's lead to 53-52 with 4:01 left in the game. Suzzy Dimba then hit two more free throws with 3:45 to play to push ACU's lead back to 55-52.
But Battle hit another jumper, and after Marquez hit 1 of 2 free throws with 1:23 left, Minta Spears buried a 3-pointer with 47 seconds left to give its only lead of the second half at 57-56.
Whitney West fouled Spears with 21 seconds left, but Spears missed the front end of the 1-and-1 and the Wildcats gained possession when the rebound went out of bounds off a Lady Raider. Lizzy Dimba got the ball on the elbow and drove down the lane where Schneider was whistled for her fifth foul.
Lizzy Dimba calmly stepped to the line and buried both free throws to give ACU a 58-57 lead. After a Tech timeout, Ivonne Cook-Taylor threw the inbounds pass from under the ACU goal, and the ball was tipped away by a trio of Wildcats and Lizzy Dimba ended up with the ball as the clock ran out on the ACU win.
The Wildcats didn't score in the final 10:40 of the contest after Suzzy Dimba's 3-pointer at the 10:41 mark of the second half gave ACU a 47-37 lead. The Wildcats were 0 for 8 from the field during that stretch, including 0 for 5 from 3-point range. And ACU committed nine turnovers to help Tech get back into the game.
However, the Wildcats dominated the glass all day, but especially in the final 10:40 of the game. ACU out-rebounded the Lady Raiders 15-5 during that stretch and didn't allow Tech even a single rebound in the final 5:48 of the contest. ACU out-rebounded the Lady Raiders 45-30 in the game, and no sequence in the game exhibited the Wildcats' dominance of the glass more than a late-game possession where they grabbed five offensive rebounds and were able to run more than 80 seconds off the game clock while holding a 55-54 lead.
"Give ACU a lot of credit," Texas Tech head coach Candi Whitaker said. "They played extremely hard and with a lot of energy. They really wanted the win. You've got to play hard and you have to want to get rebounds in order to get the ball. They (ACU) did that and we didn't. Rebounding is about energy and effort and ACU had it and we didn't.
Suzzy Dimba had 16 points and 13 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season, and and Lizzy Dimba had nine points and six rebounds. Renata Marquez led the Wildcats with 17 points and nine rebounds for ACU. Suzzy Dimba and freshman guard Alexis Mason – who had five points for the Wildcats on Sunday – were each named to the all-tournament team.
The Wildcats – who were 2-1 in the World Vision Challenge with wins over Jacksonville and Texas Tech – are off until a Jan. 4 game at Texas-San Antonio.