Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tidbits for ACU's women's game against Angelo State

Angelo State and Abilene Christian are known for their back-and-forth battles, especially since Shawna Lavender took over the Wildcats. Beginning with the 2003-04 season in Lavender's first full season, ACU is 4-4 against the Rambelles in the regular season and 4-5 overall. The Wildcats lost their only matchup with ASU in the LSC Postseason Tournament in 2005. ACU has split the season series the past two season.

Audrey Maxwell-Lively is 13 points shy of tying Ashley King (2002-06) for 15th on the school's all-time scoring list. King compiled 1,253 points in four seasons for ACU.
Kat Kundmueller is four assists shy of 300 for her career. The junior point guard is among the nation's leaders in assists this season at nearly seven per game.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

On to Kingsville

I hope there aren't people out there still hitting the refresh button waiting for the end result of the men's game. If you were, sorry, here's the release after West Texas pulled away for a 77-63 victory over ACU last night.

Sometimes things get hectic on the road, and I basically forgot to make another blog post before Grant and I hit the road.

Both the men and the women played well in spurts, but West Texas A&M continues to be a tough team to beat in Canyon. Both teams will try to rebound after 1-1 starts in the LSC South Division Wednesday with games against Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Here's a small men's photo gallery from the Jan. 3 loss to Texas A&M Commerce.

Also, with all the live blog posts from last night, don't forget to pay attention to the fact that Incarnate Word has joined the Lone Star Conference. See Lance's blog on the situation.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

ACU lead short lived

WT scored the first bucket of the second half to go up 37-30, the Wildcats responded with a 10-0 run thanks to six points from Dejan Sencanski and three steals from Dante Adams. After leading 40-37, WT countered with a 3-pointer to tie the score.

A few buckets later and the first media timeout of the second half, the score is tied at 45.

Men down five at half

Milos Klimovic hit a 3-pointer with 2:55 to cap a 13-2 run by the Wildcats after trailing 29-17. ACU was down 31-30 at that point before WTAMU scored four-straight points to lead 35-30 at half.

Dante Adams has matched his season average int he first half with 12 points, Nick Burns leads WT with nine points.

ACU men trying to keep it close

After three different occasions where West Texas A&M built at least a 10-point lead, ACU's men continue to claw back into the game. Most recently with 4:01 remaining, Kendrick Johnson scored on a pick-and-roll play on a feed from Riley Lambert cutting the lead to four points at 31-27.

Follow and listen to men's game

Follow the men's basketball game through WT's GameTracker. Also, you can listen to ALL of ACU's LSC South Division games in Abilene on 1470 AM KYYW. Grant Boone is calling the game to my immediate right tonight as the Buffs lead ACu 21-15 with 8:20 left in the first half.

Brister makes her case

It will depend on how well West Texas A&M does the rest of the season, but senior guard Emily Brister is making her case for first-team all-America honors and possibly NCAA Division II Player of the Year honors. Brister made another example of ACU Saturday night scoring 35 points for the Lady Buffs as they rolled to a 91-65 victory over Abilene Christian.

Brister is quick smart and beats you on both ends of the floor. Her 35 points and eight rebounds were impressive enough, but the fact that she led with six steals on the defensive end just added insult to injury. She can do it all, she can drive, she has a mid-range jumper and is among the LSC leaders in 3-point field goals made and 3-point field goal percentage. Oh, and she's a team player too, leading the Lady Buffs with five assists Saturday night.

The senior has earned honorable mention all-America honors in her previous three seasons, however, the WBCA would be hard-pressed to find a guard with better numbers if she and WTAMU continue at this pace. After Saturday's win, she'll be averaging more than 25 points, 5.6 rebounds, four assists, and 3.8 steals.

ACU suffered its sixth-straight loss to WTAMU at the First United Bank Center.

Looking Bleak

The intense full-court pressure appears to be wearing on the Wildcats; Ashley Leven put WTAMU up 66-52 with a bucket at 8:00 left. ACU is still playing hard, but foul trouble has kept key Wildcat defenders (Kristee Davidson and Autumn Whitaker) on the bench. The pair, assigned to Brister have four fouls apiece, and with both tall athletic players on the bench, WT has taken advantage.

I've been corrected

Going off info I got from people here in Canyon, ACU had never won in this building, however, I was informed that Shawna Lavender's first win over West Texas A&M in 2003 was here at the First United Bank Center. Lavender took over for a relieved Wayne Williams with six games left in the 2002-2003 season. Lavender proceeded to guide ACU to a 5-1 mark for the remainder of the season, one of those wins coming here in Canyon over the Lady Buffs.

Even still, ACU has a long way to go, trailing by 11 points with 16:27 left in the second half at 49-38.

Every ounce of effort

The Wildcats opened up with a solid start; as mentioned before a Kelsey Darby 3-pointer gave ACU an 18-13 lead with 12:22 lead, which was the largest the Wildcats enjoyed. However, Emily Brister helped the Lady Buffs storm back and her two free throws with 9:31 left gave the Lady Buffs a 21-20 lead from which they've never recovered.

Holly Isaac's clearly didn't get the ball off at the buzzer of the first half, although one of the referees called it good. Luckily with monitor replay the bucket was disallowed. So instead of a 9-point lead, WT leads at half 41-35.

ACU hasn't been pressed like this all year - they are playing extremely hard and well. All things considered Brister's 19 points is the dagger thus far for the Wildcats. ACU just came out of the locker room and appear to be fired up for the second half; let's see if the energy carries over and helps ACU get its first win at the First United Bank Center.

Jamie Meyer making strong point early

Jamie Meyer has 9 of ACU's 18 points early. She also got a key offensive board off a Kat Kundmueller 3-point attempt, then dished to Kelsey Darby who hit for three, and gave ACU its largest lead at 18-13 with 12:22 remaining.

However, WT all-American Emily Brister went on a 4-0 run of her own to give her 11 points early and WT trails 20-19 with 11:00 to go.

Follow WT's Game Tracker

ACU leads early 9-7 at the first media timeout of the women's game. Below is WTAMU's link to follow the game live with GameTracker:

Both Wildcat basketball teams looking to defy odds

Let me begin by saying that today was my fourth drive to Canyon in the past two months, and the road didn't get anymore interesting. However, once you get here, it's great to be in the pure college sports atmosphere that West Texas A&M continues to produce from event to event.

This is my third trip in the past five seasons to WT's First United Bank Center. It's a state of the art facility that seats 4,800. Grant Boone and I arrived an hour early to a parking lot that already had dozens of cars in it with people inside preparing for the "event" that is West Texas A&M basketball.

The FUBC, well frankly playing West Texas A&M either in Abilene or in Canyon has not proved to be Abilene Christian's favorite place to play in. Neither the Buffs or the Lady Buffs have lost to ACU on its home floor since the building opened for play in the 2003-04 season.

In fact, the WT men have an 18-game winning streak against ACU. The last time the Wildcat men defeated the Buffs was in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 1999. It took ACU three overtimes to win that night in a 102-96 win with current ACU athletic director Jared Mosley then helping the Wildcats to its only NCAA Elite 8 Appearance.

The women snapped an eight-game skid last year to the nationally-ranked Lady Buffs in Abilene (but at McMurry University) on Feb. 7. However, ACU is 3-15 in its last 18 matchups. Head coach Shawna Lavender took over ACU's program with six games remaining in the 2002-03 season, and the first time she faced WTAMU, she watched the Wildcats defeat the Lady Buffs. However, aside from that game and last year's overtime victory, Lavender is 2-9 against the national power.

Both teams will get an opportunity to change its fortunes. The ACU men enter with a 7-7 overall record and a 1-0 mark in the LSC South Division while the Buffs are 10-5 and tonight marks their first LSC South Division game. The ACU women enter with a 9-6 record overall and a 1-0 mark in league play while the Lady Buffs are ranked No. 14 in the nation, carry a 12-3 overall record, and open LSC South play tonight.

Both ACU teams took wins over Eastern New Mexico at Moody Coliseum Tuesday night to begin 1-0 in conference.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Incarnate Word joining LSC in 2010

In case you missed Friday's big news from the Lone Star Conference, here it is:  the University of the Incarnate Word has accepted an invitation to join the LSC as a full-time member beginning July 1, 2010.

UIW has been trying to get into the 78-year-old LSC since 2005, but didn't earn an invitation until Friday afternoon when league presidents voted unanimously at the NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C., to extend an invitation.  The San Antonio-based university wasted no time accepting the invitation to leave the Heartland Conference and join the LSC.

UIW will play a Division II independent football schedule in 2009 (the university's first year of football) before jumping into the fire of playing in one of the best Division II leagues in the nation in LSC.  Eastern New Mexico, Midwestern State and East Central are on the Cardinals' 2009 schedule, which will give LSC football fans an idea of where the new program stands in relation to the rest of the league.

Don't forget, though, that the addition of a new university to the LSC mix means that discussion will begin about division realignment.  Incarnate Word's location would make it a natural fit in the LSC South, which, in women's basketball, would give the league eight teams in each division.  In men's basketball, though, the league would have seven teams in the LSC North and eight in the LSC South

That, of course, is predicated on two things:
1). No teams swapping divisions;
2). And no teams leaving the league.

By way of looking at what kind of athletics program has, here's how UIW fared in each sport in its most recently completed athletic year (2007-08), and how each of those teams did against LSC competition:

Baseball -- 39-17 in 2008 (4-3 vs. LSC)
Men's Basketball -- 17-11 in 2007-08 (0-5 vs. LSC)
Men's Cross Country -- 16th at 2007 regional meet 
Men's Golf -- 5th at Heartland Conference championship (did not qualify for regional)
Men's Tennis -- 13-7 and reached regional tournament (1-1 vs. LSC)
Men's Track and Field -- no qualifiers for DII outdoor meet

Women's Basketball -- 17-11 in 2007-08 (5-4 vs. LSC)
Women's Cross Country -- 16th at 2007 regional meet
Women's Soccer -- 18-3-2 in 2007 and reached DII quarterfinals (6-0 vs. LSC)
Softball -- 31-26 in 2008 (9-11 vs. LSC)
Women's Tennis -- 18-5 and reached DII Round of 16 (4-1 vs. LSC)
Women's Track and Field -- no qualifiers for DII outdoor meet
Volleyball -- 23-9 in 2007; Heartland Conference champions (7-4 vs. LSC)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wildcats overcome 12-point second half deficit to give Lavender No. 100

Eastern New Mexico came out swinging, but in the end the Wildcats held off the Zias, moved to 1-0 in conference play, and gave head coach Shawna Lavender victory No. 100 of her career. Lavender is 100-67 in six-plus seasons as ACU's head coach and she is now 18 wins shy of taking second place on the all-time wins list at ACU.

ENMU led 41-29 early in the second half before ACU stormed back and out-scored the Zias 44-26 in the second half. Congratulations to Lavender and the Wildcats on a good start to LSC South play.

Lavender needs one victory for 100 wins

So after a huge offensive explosion a couple of weeks ago, it’s back to reality for the ACU Wildcats. Central Oklahoma held off ACU at home Thursday edging the Wildcats 68-67 just three nights after outlasting Texas Woman’s 147-143 in a quadruple overtime victory Jan. 5.

Had the Wildcats defeated the Bronchos, it would have been Shawna Lavender’s 100th career victory in her sixth full season as ACU head coach. The Wildcats got another chance Saturday, however, a surprising Northeastern State team throttled the Wildcats 83-62.

No harm done though, at least for now. ACU’s 8-6 record out of conference may have hurt its chances at an at-large regional bid if the Wildcats find themselves in the thick of the Lone Star Conference race at the end of February. However, tonight ACU gets a chance to start clean by opening LSC South Division play against Eastern New Mexico.

The Zias are coming off a year last year where they played with 12 freshmen and posted just a 5-22 record. However, second-year head coach Linden Weese was able to retain six of those players and has continued the rebuilding effort, which may have taken off quicker than expected. ENMU is 9-9 entering the contest Tuesday night and a win over ACU would double its win total from a year ago.

Back to Lavender. She took over in the final six games of the 2002-2003 season where the Wildcats went 5-1 to end the year. Since then, she’s tallied 94 more victories in five-plus seasons. The Wildcats have been to four LSC tournaments in those five full seasons and made a regional appearance in the 2004-05 season.

The Wildcats will make their third attempt Tuesday night to give Lavender the century mark. If so, ACU will have a 1-0 start in the LSC South Division, and will give the head coach a 100-67 record (.598 win pct.) She also trails Suzanne Fox (current NCAA D1 Texas State head coach) for second on the all-time list for career wins. Fox compiled 117 wins in five seasons from 1993-1997.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

ARN follow up on record-setting women's hoops game

Read Joey Richards' Abilene Reporter News Article feature on the follow up of the women's basketball game that set several NCAA, LSC, and school records in a 147-143 4 OT victory over Texas Woman's.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

ACU making SportsCenter appearances a regular thing

It started in May when ACU's centerfielder Thomas Bumpass made ESPN's SportsCenter Top 10 Plays with an amazing catch in the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament. Then, ACU's football team defeated West Texas A&M 93-68 in the second round of the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs in November; that earned the school multiple spots on the world's most popular sports news show. Then both last night and this afternoon, the ACU Women's Basketball team earned national recognition on SportsCenter for their 147-143 4 OT win over Texas Woman's at Moody Coliseum.

We hope to get video posted soon of today's clip which featured shots of ACU's coaches Shawna Lavender and Terri Pertuit. The video, courtesy of Abilene's NBC affiliate KRBC, also showed a highlight of junior forward Jamie Meyer scoring two of her 49 points (school record) and gave face-time to senior forward Kristee Davidson scoring a basket.

However, we do have video (click here) (you'll need quicktime) of the initial report from ESPN on the game that ran late last night. It talked about the game and TWU's Renee Renz who scored 63 points in the loss for the Pioneers.

On Monday's show, Lavender, Meyer and Davidson were shown in highlights on the bump before heading to commercial with 15 minutes left in the show. Then in the final segment, the highlights show a layup from Davidson, a bucket from Meyer, and a clip of Lavender and Pertuit talking to Davidson in a huddle. Then the anchors (Jay Harris, Brian Kenny) mentioned some of the NCAA records set in the game including the most combined points. It then showed a screen with "Notable High-Scoring Games" including Navy's 74-62 football victory in 2007, and Loyola Marymount's men's hoops team defeating U.S. International 181-150 in 1989. They could have easily mentioned ACU's 93-68 football win over WTAMU, but hey, we'll let it slide.

At the end of the show Brian Kenny joked that "Hopefully they get a good crowd next time at Texas Abilene, now they deserve it, what more do you want?" And yes, he did say "Texas Abilene."

The Wildcats accomplished this feat in front of roughly 200 fans Monday night.

So now that ACU has scored 93 points in a football game, and 147 points in a women's basketball game; it is now up to softball coach Chantiel Wilson and baseball coach Britt Bonneau to coach their teams to 50-run games this year.

Monday, January 5, 2009

ACU likes to score points

What is it with the Wildcats and super-high scoring games this year? Just a few weeks after ACU's football team posted an NCAA Playoff record 93 points in a win over West Texas A&M, the women's basketball team topped Texas Woman's University 147-143 in four overtimes. The 290 combined points between the two teams was an NCAA record and just one of many national, Lone Star Conference, and school records set Monday night. Jamie Meyer (pictured) scored a school-record 49 points in the victory and the Wildcats moved to 8-4 on the season.

Read the game story here.

Two galleries

As usual, thanks to Gerald Ewing for all his work for ACU and its athletics department with photos for us to use on the web, in media guides, and recently on the galleries I've been posting.

Here are two basketball galleries from recent games:

MBB: vs. Howard Payne 01/01/09
WBB: vs. Texas A&M-Commerce 01/03/09

Come out to Moody Coliseum tonight for your pre-Fiesta Bowl activities and see the women take on Texas Woman's at 6 p.m.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

After solid starts, both hoops teams looking for even more consistency

ACU’s basketball teams are sharing similar experiences now that each is a little over one-third of the way done with this season. Jason Copeland’s men are 6-4 and Shawna Lavender’s women reciprocate at 6-4. While many of the teams around the nation would appreciate a 6-4 record to start the season, it’s safe to say that more consistent play for both Wildcat teams could result in better records.

Luckily for ACU, the teams have a chance to continue ironing out the wrinkles as they prepare to head into Lone Star Conference South Division play. The Wildcats don’t begin South Division play until Jan. 13 in a home doubleheader against Eastern New Mexico.

Today, both teams play Texas A&M-Commerce, then the women have three crossover games and the men have two before the meeting with ENMU.

Another commonality for both teams is that when the Wildcat point guards are playing well, it seems that the rest of the players follow suit.

Riley Lambert, the men’s point guard, has 36 (six per game) assists and only 11 turnovers (1.8 per game) in ACU’s six wins. However, in the Wildcats’ four losses he has just 11 assists (2.75 per game) and has recorded 17 turnovers (4.25 per game).

On the women’s side, Kat Kundmueller averages 7.8 points, 6.8 assists, and 3.2 turnovers in Wildcat wins. When ACU loses the assists go down and the turnovers rise. She averages seven points, 3.5 assists and 3.3 turnovers in four ACU losses this season.

As I’m typing this post, it appears that the ACU women will move to 7-4 with a convincing win over Commerce where Kundmueller has seven points, nine assists and just one turnover; just further proof that ACU is feeding off her solid play this season.

Dante Adams and Jamie Meyer are each having much-improved seasons for ACU to help leading scorers Dejan Sencanski and Audrey Maxwell-Lively for the men and women respectively. While Sencanski and Maxwell-Lively are each in familiar spots among the top of ACU’s scoring charts, Adams and Meyer are bolstering their teams thus far in the season.

Through Dec. 31, Meyer is averaging 11.6 points per game after an 8.7 average last season. Adams, who nearly sat out this season with a medical redshirt is averaging 12.6 points (6.0 last season), his rebounding average is up a point and a half, and his 15 steals this season nearly equals the 18 he tallied in 29 games last season.

Check back for more updates, photo galleries, and be sure and come to Moody Coliseum Jan. 13 as the Wildcats open up conference play.