Johnson & Wales hit the road for the first time in 2016-17 with a trip to Phoenix for a Thursday night contest at Arizona Christian University.
JWU started strong, opening the contest on a 7-2 run over the first minute and a half of play. The Firestorm rallied back to tie the game 10-10 with 4:31 left in the first quarter. ACU took their first lead of the game at 3:45 and the 'Cats offense started to slow as the Firestorm extended their lead to 20-10. JWU made a late push to come within four at the end of the first.
A three pointer by Allison Butler (Del Norte, Colo.) to start the second quarter got Johnson & Wales within a point. At 6:17, Dominique Riley (Arvada, Colo.) put JWU back up top with a jumper. ACU scored the final eight points of the half to take a 35-28 lead into the break.
The third quarter saw the two teams trade points early before the Firestorm started to find some separation. Arizona Christian captured some monetum as they extended their lead to 65-43 after three quarters of play. In the fourth, Armanee Cross (Chicago, Ill.) took over the offense for Johnson & Wales, scoring 11 of the Wildcat's 13 points in the final quarter. JWU matched the Firestorm point for point in the fourth but ACU's third quarter run allowed them to take the 78-56 victory.
Cross led the Wildcats with 14 points off the bench and Vanessa Maestas (Thornton, Colo.) added 10. Three Wildcats had six rebounds in the contest and both Butler and McCorra Ford (Gillette, Wyo.) each dished out four assists. Toni Davis led the Firestorm with 17 points and brought down a team high nine rebounds.
The Wildcats will take on the Firestorm again on Saturday, looking to earn the road victory.