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Lady Cats rally back in Fort Smith

Published On: Dec 17 2012 09:57:00 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 17 2012 09:57:13 PM CST

FORT SMITH, Ark. -

The ACU Wildcats rallied from as many as 10 points down in the second half Monday to knock off Arkansas-Fort Smith, 70-66, in the West Texas Golf Cars WT Christmas Classic at the First United Bank Center on the West Texas A&M campus.

The win pushes ACU to 5-2 on the season, while Fort Smith falls to 3-6.  ACU will be back in action Tuesday when it takes on Emporia State (Kan.) at 4 p.m. in its second game of the Christmas Classic.

ACU trailed 27-23 at halftime and the Lady Lions were able to extend their lead to 10 points (35-25) with 17:17 left after Danielle McFadden hit a short jumper.  But over the next 5:05 of clock time, the Wildcats outscored Fort Smith, 14-2, behind the strong play the ACU bench.

Junior guard Savannah Smith hit a pair of 3-pointers in the run, while Whitney West added four points and Emily Miller and Paige Parliament two apiece in the run that gave the Wildcats the lead.  West gave ACU a 39-37 with 12:12 left in the contest when she hit a jumper.

ACU's reserves continued to stretch the lead as Parliament hit a layup on a pass from Savannah Smith to make it a 43-37 game at the 11:24 mark, and then Savannah Smith hit another 3- pointer with 9:52 left to push the ACU lead to 46-39.

Fort Smith was able to close to within 46-44 with 9:08 to play, but ACU again responded with a 13-4 run to push the lead back to 11 points (59-48) with 5:55 to play.  Kynzie Newman and Whiteny West each 3-pointers in the run, while Sadie Dickinson and Kelsey Smith added old-fashioned three-point plays to help give ACU the separation it needed down the stretch.

Fort Smith was able to cut the lead to 68-66 with 13 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Katie BenAmor, but Kelsey Smith calmly buried a pair of free throws with four seconds left to give the Wildcats a 70-66 win.

Renata Marquez led the Wildcats with 15 points, while Kelsey Smith had 13 and Savannath Smith a career-high 12 points.  Newman added three points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, who out-rebounded Fort Smith, 57-50.

Information provided by ACU athletics department.