Editor’s Note: Above image provided by UMHB athletics department.
ABILENE, Texas- The UMHB women’s basketball team fought hard in perhaps its toughest non-conference showdown of the season Thursday night in Abilene, as the Cru fell to the division one Abilene Christian Wildcats, 95-49.
The Cru entered the contest 2-0, having posted back-to-back 20 point victories over UNT-Dallas and Arlington Baptist last week, but Abilene Christian clearly played at a different level, challenging UMHB in every facet of the game.
From tip-off, Abilene Christian jumped out to a 15-2 lead with three minutes to play in the first quarter, as the Cru missed their first five shots. A lack of offensive firepower proved to be the achilles heel for Mark Morefield’s squad, who shot just 33 percent from the field. As much as offense played into the loss, rebounding was also a key part of the gameplan UMHB was lacking. Though Morefield told the media earlier on in the week that he felt this was one of the best rebounding teams they have had in program history, ACU kept the Cru off the boards, winning the rebounding battle 45-29.
Another strike against the Cru was that Taylor Kollmorgen, the team’s leading scorer coming into the contest, was literally taken out of the game by the Wildcats, as she managed just three shots, scoring zero points and pulling down a mere three rebounds. The 6’0 post player also got into foul trouble early, picking up three fouls and playing a total of just 10 minutes.
Even with several challenges in their way, the Crusaders fought hard, demonstrating the level of effort Morefield expects from his team, and even closed the first quarter on a 9-3 run, cutting the Wildcat lead to just seven points, 18-11. In Kollmorgen’s place, Allaira Jones stepped up, laying the ball in early in the second quarter to close the gap to six. Then just like that, another cold shooting spell hit UMHB, allowing ACU to go on a 9-0 run and construct a 30-15 lead. Those 15 points would turn into 26 at the half, the Wildcats holding a 47-21 lead. That was enough to seal a fifth straight win for ACU, as the Cru were held scoreless for the final 5:22 of the contest.
While UMHB did not walk away with the win, the contest served its purpose: to allow for improvement before conference play begins. Morefield spoke this week of his philosophy regarding non-conference, stating that he wants his team learn from both the positives and negatives of each game, looking ahead to the next matchup with the newly acquired experience in mind. Heading into Monday duel with UNT-Dallas, this loss to ACU will certainly be on the minds of this squad.
One positive was that the Cru executed their defensive game plan well, limiting a team that came into the game shooting 46 percent from three-point range to a mere 30 percent from behind the arc.
Individually, UMHB was led by guards Bethany McLeod and Brooke Elliot, each who contributed a team-high nine points. Forward Hannah Eggleston pulled down a team-best seven rebounds.
Next up, as mentioned above, is a home contest on Monday against UNT-Dallas at 5:30 p.m. The Cru defeated the Trailblazers 76-56 on December 1.