ABILENE, Texas - ACU had two clear goals before Tuesday night's non-conference game against Texas A&M-Commerce: control the Lady Lions on the glass and make free throws.
The Wildcats were successful on both fronts and that helped the Wildcats roll to a 92-64 win over their former Lone Star Conference rival in women's basketball action at Moody Coliseum. The win pushes the Wildcats to 6-2 in their first season of NCAA Division I basketball, while Commerce falls to 0-6.
ACU will be back in action Sunday at 4 p.m. in San Antonio when it takes on Texas-San Antonio at the Convocation Center on the UTSA campus.
In their previous three games against Commerce -- all last season -- the Wildcats were out-rebounded 141-95, including 50-24 in the Lady Lions' 80-79 upset win over the Wildcats in the quarterfinals of last year's LSC Post-Season Tournament in Allen.
But Tuesday night ACU out-rebounded the Lady Lions, 43-31, behind a 15-point, 11-rebound effort by freshman forward Suzzy Dimba, who made her third straight start for the Wildcats.
And the Wildcats -- who entered Tuesday night's contest hitting just 63.1 percent of their free throws -- hit 14 of 18 (77.8 percent) from the stripe against Commerce.
"We had a great plan and our team went out and executed it," ACU head coach Julie Goodenough said. "We spent a lot of time working on and talking about rebounding and hitting free throws and knew those would both be keys to winning this game."
The Wildcats were never in trouble in this one as they scored seven straight on back-to-back buckets by freshman Alexis Mason and a 3-pointer from sophomore point guard Whitney West to take a 7-3 lead over the Lady Lions.
ACU had as much as a five-point lead six minutes into the game, but saw that lead trimmed to 21-20 with 10:27 to play on a offensive rebound and layup by Breanna Harris, who tormented the Wildcats in the three games last year to the tune of 55 points and 33 rebounds.
The Wildcat lead was 31-26 with 6:42 to play after Danielle Dixon hit a layup for Commerce, but ACU responded with a 16-6 over the final 6:28 to carry a 47-32 lead to the break. Sydney Shelstead and Lizzy Dimba each had four points in the run, Renata Marquez and Mason each had three and Briana Jolivet had a bucket in the half-ending run.
Mason -- who finished with a career-high 26 points -- had 16 of those points in the first half as she hit all seven of her shots from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers. She hit her first shot of the second half to make her a perfect 8 of 8 from the field before finally missing her first shot of the night at the 18:26 mark.
She finished the game 10 of 13 from the field (3 of 5 from 3-point range) and 3 of 4 from the free throw line and she addd six rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes.
Lizzy Dimba came off the bench to score 12 points and grab five rebounds. West had 11 points (4 of 9 shooting, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range), while Shelstead had 10 points and seven rebounds. Marquez finished the night with eight points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Wildcats.
Information for this story provided by ACU Athletics.
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