Maleeah Langstaff had a career night on Thursday to lead ACU to an upset win over the league leaders. Courtesy ACU Athletics.

WBB: Wildcats Get Upset Win, Create Chaos in Title Chase

Last week Abilene Christian women’s basketball coach Julie Goodenough celebrated career win 500 with a 78-60 win over Tarleton in Moody Coliseum. On Thursday night, the Wildcats hosted league-leader Southern Utah, looking to play the role of spoiler.

Two wins. That was all SUU needs to clinch at least a share of the regular season title.

On Thursday night at Moody Coliseum, the Wildcats played the role of spoiler quite well.

Maleeah Langstaff had a career-high 34 points as the Wildcats defended Moody Coliseum with an 89-83 overtime win.

It knocks Southern Utah to 17-10 overall and 13-2 in the WAC. The Thunderbirds hold a game and a half lead over Stephen F. Austin along with a two-game lead on Grand Canyon and idle CBU.

Abilene Christian led by two at halftime after a late 5-0 Wildcats run gave them a 31-29 lead. Bella Earle took advantage of a steal and perfect pass from Aspen Thornton for a layup and Madi Miller connected on a 3-pointer from a baseline out of bounds play on the spurt.

Neither side had a player in double figures in the first half. Both offenses combined for 39.6 percent total field goal shooting and just 13.8 percent from beyond the arc on 13 total assists.

Maleeah Langstaff had eight points, including five in the span of 24 seconds with a 3-pointer, as Abilene Christian pushed its lead to 55-44 with 2:53 left in the third quarter.

Claire Graham’s 3-pointer with 72 seconds left in the quarter gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the game at 60-46 and that’s how the quarter ended.

Southern Utah started the fourth quarter on a 12-0 run to cut the deficit to 60-58.

Cherita Daugherty accounted for seven points in that run. Samantha Johnston and Madi Miller traded 3-pointers within 30 seconds of each other as Abilene Christian maintained a 65-61 lead in the middle of the quarter.

Tomekia Whitman connected on a 3-pointer to tie the game at 66. Daugherty then hit a jumper, giving the T-Birds a 68-66 lead with 4:37 left. Lizzy Williamson‘s layup tied the game at 74 on a layup with 77 seconds left.

SUU had a chance to win in regulation. However, Cherita Daugherty’s jumper was short and fans got some free basketball.

Bella Earle struck the first blow for the Wildcats in overtime with a transition 3-pointer. The Wildcats lead reached eight points when Aspen Thornton converted a 3-point play with 1:24 remaining.

Tomekia Whitman chopped it to a 3-point deficit 13 seconds later. However, Southern Utah could get no closer in the overtime loss.

Langstaff had 34 points and eight rebounds. Aspen Thornton added 17 points and seven assists for the Wildcats. ACU also got 13 points and nine rebounds from Addison Martin.

For SUU, it was Whitman leading the charge with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Cherita Daugherty added another 18 points, six rebounds and six assists. Samantha Johnston added 17 points, hitting a quartet of shots from beyond the arc, and six rebounds. Lizzie Williamson contributed 12 points and eight rebounds. Daylani Ballena also added 10 points for the Thunderbirds in defeat.

SUU is at Tarleton on Saturday while Abilene Christian is idle.

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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