Wildcats
Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

2023-24 Team Preview: Abilene Christian Women’s Basketball

In the WAC tournament first round at Michelob ULTRA arena Abilene Christian worked to build a double digit lead against Sam Houston before Mikayla Woods’ layup at the buzzer knocked out the Wildcats. Madi Miller and Maleeah Langstaff have graduated but there is still a large core coming back from last year’s edition of the Wildcats. Let’s take a look at the team Julie Goodenough will take the floor with in ’23-’24…

Head Coach:

Julie Goodenough (12th year)

At ACU:

214-114 (.652) Overall

2022-23 Season Record:

15-15 Overall and 9-9 WAC (7th place)

Postseason:

Lost WAC tournament opening round against Sam Houston

Big Country Addison Martin returns for ACU after a stellar freshman season. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

Departures:

  • Alexis Babineaux – Transfer to Loyola New Orleans-NAIA
  • Regan Fox – University of Central Oklahoma-NCAA D2
  • Hampton Williams – Newman University-NAIA
  • Madi Miller – Graduate
  • Maleeah Langstaff – Graduate

Newcomers:

  • Kenadi Rising 5-11, Junior, G, Transfer (Highland Community College)
  • Ylenia Perez  5-7, Junior, G, Transfer (Trinidad State)
  • Payton Hull, 5-11, Freshman, G
  • Meredith Mayes, 6-2, Freshman, C
  • Claire Traeger, 5-10, Graduate, F, Transfer (Binghamton)
  • Gracy Wernli, 5-9, Freshman, G

Rising averaged 13.9 points and shot just under 34% at the JUCO level a year ago for a HCC team that earned an NJCAA national tournament berth before falling in an opening round game.

At Binghamton a year ago, Traeger averaged 8.0 points and 8.8 rebounds starting in all 29 games for a team that went 13-17 overall and 6-10 in America East play.

At Trinidad State, Perez averaged 17.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals for a team that went 14-16 overall, 6-4 in their conference but won a pair of games in their tournament before bowing out.

Hull scored 3,000+ points at the high school level and is the Peaster High School career scoring leader. She was a TABC and TGCA All-State selection at the 3A level.

Mayes earned OGBCA All-State academic honors and was also an All-Region and All-Conference selection.

Troxell scored 1,500 points and grabbed 1,000 rebounds in high school en route to TABC and TGCA 3A All-State honors. She was also named an Academic All-State honoree and selected to the THSCA All-Elite team.

Wernli was a finalist for Oklahoma Player of the Year honors who scored more than 1,000 points in her prep career and earned numerous All-State awards.

Aspen Thornton is the floor general for the ACU women’s basketball team. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

Outlook:

Madi Miller and MaleeahLangstaff combined to average 26 points per game a year ago and 143 total assists. That’s a lot of offense (almost a third of the Wildcat average) for longtime head coach Julie Goodenough to replace as a new season dawns in almost two months.

Abilene Christian does return a core of Aspen Thornton, Bella Earle and Addison Martin who combined to make 85 starts a year ago. Miller was the Wildcats top 3-point shooter a year ago with 76.

However, ACU should be alright from 3-point distance as Thornton, Earle and Claire Graham each made at least 20 in at least 25 games played.

Addison Martin looks to follow up an impressive rookie campaign with a solid 2023-24 but with Langstaff gone who will help her with the paint scoring?

Scheduling Tidbits:

Although the Wildcats full schedule is not yet available, on this week’s episode of the Straight Outta WAC podcast, Julie Goodenough did tease a couple of matchups in addition to their WAC/CUSA matchups against Louisiana Tech and Western Kentucky.

They’ll host Rice in a return game at Moody Coliseum. Last year on the road, ACU held a 42-35 lead at the half before falling 85-69. Rachel Harjo led the Wildcats with 22 points in that matchup, her season high.

Also, the Wildcats will be spending their Thanksgiving Break in an MTE hosted by the Naval Academy.

Check out the full episode below.

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

Derryl Trujillo

Derryl Trujillo is a Southern California based sportswriter who won the 2019 Inland Empire Baseball Coaches Association's Supporter of the Year award. He joined the WAC Hoops Digest staff in 2020 and also covers local sports for Inland Sports and the Valley News. Before transitioning to media Derryl was a high school, collegiate and club volleyball official along with serving as a high school basketball scorekeeper for ten years.

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