The 2020-21 season was the first time since 2011-12, that the ACU women didn’t win 15-plus games. Pretty impressive streak. And now the Wildcats will begin their first season in the Western Athletic Conference where the competition gets a little better. Julie Goodenough is entering her 10th season and there is plenty of continuity. Question is, will the influx of incoming freshman and a few transfers equate to wins? That remains to be seen.
Julie Goodenough (10th Season)
ACU: 182-86, Overall: 471-306
14-13 Overall, 6-7 Southland Conference
WBI Qualifier (0-3)
Southland Conference Regular Season Champions:
2016, 2017 & 2019
Hannah Matthews 6-1, SO, C (Tarleton State)
Alexis Babineaux, 6-1, FR, C
Nykale Cramer, 5-11, FR, W
Bella Earle, 5-10, FR, G
Niyah Johnson, 6-1, FR, F
Addison Martin, 6-1, FR, W/F
Tatum Barber, 5-10, GR, G
Jamie Bonnarens, 6-0, GR, F
Emma Middleton, 6-1, GR, F
It’s hard to consider 14-13 overall with a postseason appearance disappointing but after losing their last four games of ’20-’21 that’s exactly where ACU women’s basketball finds themselves as they embark on their first WAC campaign. Those four losses between the Southland Conference tournament & all three games of their WBI appearance were by an average of 17.8 PPG.
The Wildcats are on their 5th season of postseason eligibility after successfully completing their transition period during a 2016-17 campaign which saw the Wildcats win the Southland Conference regular season title and make a 2nd round appearance in the WNIT.
Goodenough loses her two leading scorers from 2020-21 in Anna McCleod (16.7 PPG & 5.3 RPG, 1st in 3-point makes) and Alyssa Adams (13.5 PPG & 8.7 RPG). Her two primary distributors from a year ago are Madi Miller (8.2 PPG & 3.2 APG) and Kamryn Mraz (7.0 PPG & 3.2 APG). They’re both back along with three others who appeared in all 27 games…Taylor Morgan, Alice Stevenson, and Katie Horyna.
Eight new faces including three grad transfers will don Wildcat purple this fall and hope to help return ACU to NCAA Tournament play…
*Tatum Barber, 5-10, Wing, Grad Transfer (Georgia Southern)
-Started 41 games and appeared in 105 while at Georgia Southern.
-42 career double digit scoring games
-Team leader in scoring (12.3) and rebounding (5.7) as a junior
*Jamie Bonnarens, 6-0, Wing, Grad Transfer (Colorado State)
-29 starts as a Ram. Averaged 8.4 PPG while shooting 34% from 3 in the Mountain West.
-Was all Lone Star Conference in two years at Cameron University (Honorable Mention-Freshman & 1st Team-Sophomore)
*Emma Middleton, 6-1, Post, Grad Transfer (Lubbock Christian)
-A member of Lubbock Christian’s D2 National Championship team from last year Middleton was Lone Star Conference and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player averaging 13.2 PPG & 5.7 RPG while shooting 52% from the floor.
ACU needs to cut down on turnovers (+81 more than their opponents). Improvements on the defensive end are a huge necessity as well. ACU allowed 62.3 PPG and opponents shot 41.4% against the Wildcats in 2020-21. Remember, defense wins championships.
If May’s draft is to be believed, ACU starts with four of six WAC games at home against current conference members in Utah Valley, Dixie State, Grand Canyon, and New Mexico State. The Wildcats visit traditional opponents Stephen F. Austin & Sam Houston State in that stretch and visit CBU on Jan 22.