Amara Graham had 25 points and hit six 3-pointers to help GCU open WAC play with a win in her hometown. Courtesy GCU Athletics.

Purple Also Reigns Supreme in the Women’s Opening Night Recap

It was opening night across the WAC and if last night is any indication we’re in for a wild ride. Our average margin of victory was just under 12 points per contest and every game was competitive. And for one night at least, purple was the color of choice. Three of the four schools who wear the purple and white in the WAC won on Thursday night. Like it was said, we are in for a wild ride throughout conference play. Hope you enjoy the recap…

Abilene Christian 69,  Utah Valley 63

You only get one chance to make a first impression. And Julie Goodenough’s ACU squad certainly did that in rallying from 12 points down at home to win their WAC debut. The Wildcats were 8-19 from 3-point range (42.1%) and 25-57 total (43.9%) with just four turnovers. Jamie Bonnarens had 16 points on 3-5 from deep with 10 rebounds. Tatum Barber, Kamryn Mraz, and Sarah Griswold also were in double figure scoring for Abilene Christian. Josie Williams had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Wolverines (and all scorers), but it wasn’t enough as Utah Valley fell on the road with a 4-24 performance from 3 point range.

Dixie State 57, Tarleton State 49

Thursday night will be forever remembered by the Trailblazers as they secured their first Di victory to start New Year’s weekend in Texas. Emily Issacson had 25 points on 7-11 FG’s (3-7 3’s) with 9 rebounds and 3 blocks to lead the way and Macie Warren was 4-6 from deep in the win. The Trailblazers were 8-17 from three and shot just under 40% total. Tarleton State was just 1-16 from three in the loss and they got 10 points from Seynabou Thiam in defeat. Dixie State’s win over Tarleton is the lone win over a school that dons the purple and white on Thursday.

Emily Isaacson had 25 points and 9 rebounds to lead Dixie State to its first-ever WAC win. Courtesy Breanna Biorato/VisuallyBreanna.

Grand Canyon 66, Chicago State 49

It took a little while for the Lopes to pull away. But last year’s WAC tournament runners up got their 2021-22 conference campaign started on a winning note in the Windy City. Another win for a school that dons the purple and white.

A tie game was blown open by the Lopes defense which held Chicago State to just 16 points after intermission and 5-20 field goal shooting (25%). Amara Graham had a big night in her hometown with 25 points on 8-15 shooting (6-10 3’s) to lead the Lopes who added another 22 forced turnovers to their tally. Aalyiah Collins had 19 points on 7-9 shooting to lead the Cougars.

Stephen F. Austin, 65  UTRGV 50

Mark Kellogg earned his 400th career win as the Lumberjacks started off WAC play with a win in South Texas. Purple strikes again. Are we just repeating ourselves?

SFA outscored the Vaqueros 32-16 at half which was too big a deficit for UTRGV to overcome. Aiyana Johnson and Stephanie Visscher each had 18 points on a combined 14-27 field goal shooting with 17 combined rebounds. SFA also forced 23 Vaquero turnovers. Taylor Muff had 11 points on 5-14 from the floor for UTRGV who played without Sara Bershers.

Upcoming Games:

Saturday, January 1, 2022

New Mexico State @ Chicago State

Dixie State @ Abilene Christian

Utah Valley @ Tarleton State

Sunday, January 2, 2022

CBU @ Seattle

***All games on ESPN+





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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