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Expectations still high for young Wildcats in 2017-2018

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ABILENE, Texas - Friday night, both ACU basketball programs tip-off the season inside Moody Coliseum and while the men's team returns nearly everyone from last season, Julie Goodenough's defending regular-season champs will certainly look a bit different in 2017.

"The goal these first few games is to have our players transfer what we're working on in practice, over to the game," Goodenough explained. "Sometimes that's hard when you've got a lot of other stuff going on and distractions during the game, and so its about getting them to focus and lock in and do the little things correctly that we've been working on."

Arguably the best senior class in program history departed after last season, with all-conference team selections of Suzzy and Lizzy Dimba, Sydney Shelstead, and Alexis Mason. Those four had helped the Wildcats to 84 wins over four seasons, two regular-season conference titles, and two WNIT bids.

But now, it's about getting a much younger team up to speed with ACU picked 5 th this year in the Southland Conference preseason poll.

"They feel pressure that they're putting on themselves because they want to uphold the standards of the women's basketball program," said now-sixth year head coach Julie Goodenough on Thursday. "They take a lot of pride in representing ACU and so the pressure they feel may be the pressure they put on themselves, just because they want to put a product on the court that ACU will be proud of."

With a highly touted freshman class, it will be senior Sierra Allen, junior Sara Williamson, and sophomore guard Brianna Wright with the reigns in keeping things in the right direction, adding a lot of expectations to the program, especially now with conference and NCAA postseason eligibility on the table.

"Different people that follow us maybe don't have high expectations for us because we've got such a young team, but in our locker room, expectations are really high, said Goodenough on Thursday. "I think that our team is really where we need to be right now and it's going to look different for a while, but it's going to be a really fun team to follow and support."

ACU and Southwest are set to tip-off at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

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