ABILENE - Christmas Break is over for the Abilene Christian basketball teams beginning tonight. The women's squad returns to action Thursday at 4 p.m. when it faces Shaw University at the West Texas Golf Cars Lady Buff Holiday Classic. The men's team resumes its schedule Friday when it plays host to Dallas Baptist at 7 p.m.
The Wildcats lost to the Patriots, 82-70, earlier this season in Dallas. Zach Williams led ACU that night with 17 points.
Also on Friday, the women's squad will conclude its stay at the First United Bank Center in Canyon, Texas with a 4 p.m. contest vs. Southwestern Oklahoma.
The ACU women's team enters the Holiday Classic with an overall record of 4-5 and 1-4 mark against the Lone Star Conference - its lone victory a 92-85 double-overtime win at Eastern New Mexico. Against non-conference opposition, the Wildcats have fared well in winning three of four games by an average of 9.0 points per game.
Sophomore Mack Lankford, who missed ACU's last game at Midwestern State on Dec. 19, continues to lead the Wildcats in scoring with 18.4 points per game. Renata Marquez also has played well of late, reaching double figures in four of her last five starts, including a season-high 25 vs. the Zias.
Kelsey Smith is third on the team in scoring with 12.2 points per game, but is No. 1 in rebounding (6.4) in addition to collecting 19 blocks and 10 steals.
The Lady Bears of Shaw University are 3-3 on the season and have been inactive since a 73-65 loss to Arkansas-Fort Smith on Dec. 18. Aslea Williams, who is averaging a double-double on the season, leads Shaw in both scoring (17.8) and rebounding (11.8).
Southwestern Oklahoma also has been inactive for some time with its last decision a 79-58 loss to Northeastern State on Dec. 15, which dropped the Bulldogs' record to 5-2. SWOSU had scored at least 80 points in all but one other game prior to that loss, including a season-high 109 points against Oklahoma Panhandle State on Dec. 12.
Led by Sumiya Darden's 18.0 and Darci Dick's 15.9 points per game, SWOSU is shooting .441 percent from the field, .333 percent from the 3-point line, and .671 percent from the charity stripe. Darden also leads the team with 6.9 rebounds per contest and has a team-high three blocks, while Dick leads the team with 20 blocks and 16 steals on the season.
Since defeating the Abilene Christian men's team on Nov. 29, Dallas Baptist has won five of its last six games in improving to 9-4 on the season. The Patriots' most recent win was a 91-39 thumping of Crowley's Ridge, in which T.J. Clark scored a game-high 18 points.
Clark leads DBU in scoring with 15.7 points per game, but is closely trailed by teammates Jordan McGowen (15.5) and Nick Fox (14.7). McGowen also is pulling down an average of 7.0 rebounds per game.
As a team, the Patriots are shooting better than 50 percent from the field (.507) as are all five of their starters (Clark, McGowen, Fox, Ryan Marsh, Armie Lewis).
By comparison, the ACU men's team (5-6, 0-4) is shooting .439 from the field, .323 from 3-point range and .695 from the free-throw line.
Zach Williams leads the Wildcats with 13.8 points per game and has tallied 15 or more points in six of his last seven starts. Dosh Simms, meanwhile, has taken over ACU's leading rebounder with 6.6 per game and has pulled down 10 or more three times since joining the starting lineup earlier this month. Simms also registered a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards vs. Southwest Adventist on Dec. 3.
Live stats will be available for all three Wildcat games this weekend.
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