Women’s Basketball: Fourth quarter McNeese scoring drought allows ACU to pull away in 90-77 win

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LAKE CHARLES — McNeese women’s basketball scraped and clawed for three quarters until a fourth quarter scoring drought allowed Abilene Christian to pull away midway through the fourth quarter, on its way to a 90-73 Southland Conference victory here Wednesday to remain undefeated in league play.

“Credit our kids, we battled with the no. 11 team in the mid-major poll and we hung with them until the end,” said head coach Kacie Cryer. “I thought we did a good job except for about a two-minute span in the fourth quarter.”

McNeese (3-10, 0-4 SLC) trailed by two points, 58-56 heading into the final quarter after a Regan Bolton off balance three-pointer banked in as the buzzer sounded looked to give McNeese the momentum heading to the fourth quarter.

Instead, the Cowgirls went cold on offense and ACU’s (12-1, 4-0 SLC) three-point shooting heated up as the Wildcats hit all three of their third quarter treys within about a two minute span to break the game open and extended its lead to 77-63 on its way to outscoring the Cowgirls 32-17 in the fourth quarter.

“We lost some assignments on the defensive end and we rushed some shots on the offensive end instead of playing patient and countering them when they scored. When you score 73 points, you normally are winning games but the way Abilene can score the basketball, you can’t mess up against them because they will convert. Another thing is we missed way too many free throws, 15 to be exact and we missed them early in the game. If we hit some of those early on when we had them on their heels, we probably could have been ahead.”

Both teams placed four players in double figures with Damilola Balogun leading the Cowgirls with her second straight double-double (15 points, 11 reb.). Regan Bolton also scored 15 points and was 5 of 10 from the field including three 3-pointers. Bre’Ashlee Jones pitched in with 14 points and freshman Lizzy Ratcliff took advantage of her first career start and scored a career high 13 points. Ratcliff was 5 of 9 from the field including 2 of 4 from behind the arc.

Makayla Mabry led the Wildcats with a career high 25 points and including a career high seven three-pointers. Dominique Golightly scored 18, Leixie Ducat had 13, and Breanna Wright ended the game with 11.

McNeese will conclude its three-game home stand in a 1 p.m. game against Northwestern State in the first of a doubleheader with the Cowboys.

1st QUARTER (McN 14, ACU 18)
McNeese took the early lead on a three-pointer by freshman Lizzy Ratcliff, who earned her first career start. Both teams traded baskets the next few minutes and with the game tied at eight apiece, the Wildcats went on a 10-6 run the final three minutes of the quarter to hold a four point (18-14) first quarter lead.

2nd QUARTER (McN 32, ACU 40)
ACU continue to extend their lead in the early minutes of the quarter and holding a 26-20 lead until the Cowgirls went on a 9-2 run to take a 29-28 lead following a three-pointer by Kyla Hamilton midway through the quarter. ACU responded with a 12-4 run in the final five minutes of the quarter to take a 40-34 halftime lead.

3rd QUARTER (McN 56, ACU 58)
McNeese scored the first five points of the quarter including a three-pointer by Bolton and a layup by Haynes to take a 41-40 lead. The lead went back and forth for a few minutes then ACU hit back-to-back threes to take a 50-45 lead midway through the quarter. McNeese to within three (53-50) following a three-pointer by Ratcliff and a Balogun layup with 2:45 left in the quarter. McNeese ended the quarter on a Bolton off balance three-pointer as time expired to go into the final quarter trailing 58-56.

4th QUARTER (McN 73 ACU 90)
McNeese went cold on offense and ACU used the three-pointer to pull away midway through the quarter. The Wildcats held its largest lead of the game (23 pts.) and outscored the Cowgirls 32-17 in the quarter.

•- The 73 points allowed by ACU is the third most overall and the second most in a conference game this season.
•- McNeese trailed by two points (58-56) after a Regan Bolton off balance three-pointer banked in as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter.
•- The Cowgirls shot 51.1 percent from the field including 50.0 percent from three-point range, and 54.5 percent from the free throw line for the game.
•- Both teams had four players score in double figures
•- Damilola Balogun recorded her second straight double double (15 pts., 11 reb.)
•- Freshman Lizzy Ratcliff earned her first career start and scored a career high 13 points.

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