LAKE CHARLES—As cold as it was outside of Burton Coliseum here Wednesday, McNeese women’s basketball’s shooting was equally as cold inside the coliseum in the first half of its 80-75 Southland Conference loss to Abilene Christian.
McNeese (6-7, 2-1 SLC) has gotten off to slow starts in several of its game this season and tonight wasn’t any different. The Cowgirls opened the game trailing the Wildcats 15-7 in the first quarter behind a 17.6 field goal percent. The Cowgirls made good on only three of their 17 attempts in the quarter while ACU (9-4, 3-0 SLC) shot 30.8 percent in the quarter. The second quarter didn’t get much better as McNeese was 5 of 18 from the field and trailed 43-28 at the half.
“We dug ourselves a hole in the first half and we were having to continue to claw ourselves back into the game,” said head coach Kacie Cryer. “In some games this season, we have been able to come back and win but against a good team like Abilene Christian its tough to do that.”
McNeese had four players score in double figures and was led in scoring by sophomore Caitlin Davis’ 16 points. Davis would eventually foul out late in the game but would be credited with a game high 7 assists. Keara Hudnall and Bre’Ashlee Jones chipped in with 11 points and Dede Sheppard added 10. McNeese lead the Cowgirls with six rebounds.
Both teams shot extremely well from the free throw line. A combined 49 points were scored from the charity stripe. ACU was 25 of 28 for 89.3 percent while the Cowgirls were 24 of 27 for 88.9 percent.
Despite an 18-point deficit to start the third quarter, the Cowgirls continued to cut into the lead in the quarter and trailed by seven points three in the period and outscored the Wildcats 23-16 in the period.
Every time McNeese made a run to cut into the lead, ACU answered with a three, particularly from its leading scorer- Dominique Golightly who opened the third and fourth quarters with threes.
“ACU hits shots when they needed to. Every time we cut it and had a chance, they would come down on their end and hit a three. At times we had chances to do the same but didn’t convert. Give credit to our kids though for continuing to battle and they never gave up,” Cryer said.
After Golightly’s three gave ACU an 11-point lead to open the fourth quarter, McNeese’s Regan Bolton answered with a three for the Cowgirls that started a 10-2 to bring McNeese within three points midway through the quarter. The Cowgirls would cut the lead to three again its nest trip down the court by a trey by Sara Williamson brought the ACU lead back up to six.
ACU would up its lead to seven with 1:46 left, using the free throw line to increase its lead. McNeese cut the lead to three points again (76-73) with :51 seconds and then again with 9 seconds on free throws by Davis and layups by Hudnall and Carswell. Two more free throws by Williamson would ice the game.
The Wildcats were led in scoring by Golightly and Breanna Wright, who both scored a game high 17 points. Williamson ended the game with 12 points while Sierra Allen grabbed a game high seven rebounds.
McNeese will remain home to host New Orleans at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6 in the first game of a doubleheader with the Cowboys.
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