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 Megan GUSTAFSON
  Iowa
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 Kristine ANIGWE
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 Amy O'NEILL
  St.F.
  (168-G-)
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 Chastadie BARRS
  Lamar
  (173-G-97)
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 9. Weaver, Butler3.2 
 10. Mehta, Brown3.2 
Blocks Per Game
 Nancy MULKEY
  Rice
  (206-C-98)
  Avg: 3.9
 1. Mulkey, Rice3.9 
 2. Fluker, CS N3.6 
 3. Parker, Penn.3.2 
 4. Harris, Purdue3.1 
 5. Wilkinson, Tenn T2.8 
 6. Wright, Vermont2.8 
 7. Hamson, BYU2.8 
 8. Alarie, Princeton2.8 
 9. Turner, Notre D2.8 
 10. Austin, Maryland2.7 

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NO. 4 WILDCATS EARN NCAA TOURNAMENT BERTH WITH THRILLER OVER NO. 6 ISLANDERS - Mar 18, 2019


POSTED BY:
GREG
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Breanna
Wright
KATY, Texas - Less than 24 hours after watching the Abilene Christian men's basketball team earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats' women's team followed suit.

The tournament's most valuable player Breanna Wright (5'8''-G-98)ss two free throws with seven seconds left proved to be the difference for the Wildcats, who held off a furious rally from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a 69-68 thriller at the Merrell Center on Sunday to give No. 4 seed ACU (23-9) the conference tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The win, coupled with the ACU men's victory on Saturday night, resulted in the Southland Conference's second occurrence of a school capturing both the men's and women's basketball tournament titles in the same year, joining Texas State - then Southwest Texas State - who pulled off the feat in 1997.

'What a big deal this weekend for both ACU teams to be here and win the championship,' said Wildcats coach Julie Goodenough , whose team will learn its first-round destination on Monday night. 'This is huge for the city of Abilene.'

Playing their fourth game in as many days, sixth-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (17-16) overcame a 24-point third-quarter deficit to tie the game at 64 on a pair of free throws from Dalesia Booth with 1:57 left to cap off a 40-14 run for the Islanders.

'We were tired but, honestly, this is our last game and this is the championship game,' said Booth, who scored a game-high 23 points coming off the bench. 'The adrenaline and everything else came up and we were ready to play.'

With 1:05 remaining, the Wildcats took the lead for good on a basket from Lexie Ducat (6'1''-F-97), who also came through with the biggest rebound of the game when she pulled in a missed free throw from Dominique Golightly (5'11''-G/F). Ducat got the ball to Wright, who knocked down the free throws to give ACU enough cushion to withstand Alexes Bryant (6'3''-F)'s missed three-pointer and Makinna Serrata (6'0''-G)'s basket as the horn sounded.

'We're super excited about representing the Southland Conference in the tournament and we're super excited to see who our opponent will be,' said Goodenough.
ACU shot over 60 percent from the field in the first half to take a 43-25 lead into the break before stretching the margin to 24. The Wildcats knocked down 11 three-pointers on the afternoon, including five from Makayla Mabry (6'1''-F/C). Two of Mabry's treys came at critical junctures in the fourth quarter to help keep the Islanders at bay.

The resilient Islanders refused to concede. Down 50-26 with 6:16 in the third quarter, A&M-Corpus Christi rattled off a 12-0 run that was capped off by a steal and layup from Makinna Serrata to trim the margin in half at 50-38 with 2:23 remaining before Wright's three-pointer snapped what had been a scoring drought of more than five minutes for the Wildcats.

However, the Islanders regained momentum at the end of the third when Dae Dae Evans grabbed the rebound on her second missed free throw and sunk a short jumper that pushed A&M-Corpus Christi even closer at 55-45 going into the fourth quarter.

'Never once did we ever lose hope in ourselves and as a team,' said Wright, who finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The victory was a culmination of a dream that started back in June, when the team set its goal of winning the conference championship. To win it was sweeter considering the program had to miss two years of tournament play after rejoining the Southland Conference.

'It's amazing,' said ACU guard Sara Williamson, who scored nine points and added five assists. 'I don't even know how to describe what I'm feeling right now. To finally see it come true and see us realize our potential is amazing. I'm over the moon.'

Williamson joined Wright on the all-tournament team along with Moe Kinard of Lamar and the Islanders' duo of Booth and Bryant.

Despite the loss, the grit and determination of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was one of the defining moments of one of the most exciting women's tournaments in conference history. Counted out numerous times, the Islanders kept fighting back, with Sunday almost becoming a comeback of historic proportions.

'I'm exceptionally proud of my team for the simple fact that we got down bunches in the first half and kept fighting,' said Islanders coach Royce Chadwick. 'That's a test of your character, and I thought we showed tremendous character in fighting back from (24) down and make some noise down the stretch.'

Courtesy of southland.org

Southland Conf. Tournament Final: Abilene Christian - A&M-Corpus Christi 69-68
Southland Conf. Tournament Semifinals:
Abilene Christian - Lamar 88-79
A&M-Corpus Christi - Stephen F. Austin 58-56   





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