Archives for February 2012

Suns Begin New Postseason Era vs. SOSU

Most No. 1 seeds in college conference basketball tournaments around the country enjoy a first-round match-up that is, how shall we say, less than stressful.

But for Arkansas Tech University, the top seed in the inaugural Great American Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament this weekend at Bruin Fieldhouse in Bartlesville, Okla., there is no opening-round cupcake on the shelf.
 
The nationally 11th-ranked Golden Suns (22-3) will face Southeastern Oklahoma State (10-16) in the GAC Tournament first round at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 2.
 
Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will have the broadcast.

Click here to access an Internet stream of the broadcast. 
 
Southeastern Oklahoma State has participated in the NCAA Division II Tournament in two of the last three years. The Savage Storm was picked to finish third in the GAC this season after it returned three of its top four scorers from a team that was 20-8 overall in 2010-11.
 
Injuries — not the least of which was losing leading scorer Whitney Coffey for six games during the conference season — helped send Southeastern Oklahoma State to its first losing season since 2005-06.
 
But Coffey is now back in the line-up and Arkansas Tech head coach Dave Wilbers, who picked the Savage Storm to win the GAC regular season title in the preseason poll, considers Southeastern Oklahoma State a tough first-round opponent for his Golden Suns.
 
“I’ve always been impressed with Southeastern Oklahoma,” said Wilbers. “They’re well-coached, and they have a lot of experience, including a lot of experience playing (at Bruin Fieldhouse). They do a good job shooting the basketball. They can put four guards on the floor at one time, and their post player (Coffey) is one of their best outside shooters. I think anybody you play in the GAC Tournament — one through eight — is going to be pretty good.”
 
Arkansas Tech enters the postseason on an 11-game winning streak. The Golden Suns clinched the inaugural GAC regular season championship outright by defeating Southern Arkansas 93-58 in the regular season finale on Saturday.
 
Tech point guard Rosie Silva has reached double figures in scoring seven consecutive games. The junior from Caracas, Venezuela, has averaged 17.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 4.9 steals per contest during that seven-game span.

“I think we have good balance right now,” said Wilbers. “We can score in a variety of ways. We can go down low on the block, our post players can shoot the jump shot, our guards are doing a good job of getting into the paint and finishing plays and we’re a pretty good 3-point shooting team. We try to take advantage of our strengths, and that includes our transition game.”

Arkansas Tech features four players averaging double figures in scoring — senior forward Natalia Santos (16.8 points per game), Silva (13.2 points per game), senior forward Katie Horsman (12.9 points per game) and junior forward Jessica Weatherford (11.8 points per game).
 
The Golden Suns have experienced their share of postseason success over the past two years. Arkansas Tech won back-to-back Gulf South Conference Tournament titles and back-to-back NCAA Division II South Region championships in 2010 and 2011.
 
All-time, the Golden Suns are 89-26 (77 percent) in postseason games.
 
“We like to treat it just like another game,” said Wilbers when asked about the postseason. “It will be the third time we’ve played Southeastern Oklahoma State, so we know their personnel and what they like to do. The stakes go up a little higher because it’s the conference tournament and we’re battling for a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but we just prepare for the next game. I think our team has always been good about not looking ahead. We prepare the same way, come to the gym and practice the same way and go through our scouting report and film study the same way.”
 
The winner of the Arkansas Tech-SOSU game will advance to the GAC Tournament semifinal round at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 3. The women’s title game is set for 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 4.
 
All games at the GAC Tournament will be played at Bruin Fieldhouse in Bartlesville.

Click here to learn more about Arkansas Tech women’s basketball.

Tech, SAU Rematch in Men’s GAC 1st Round

It will be a case of a familiar opponent in unfamiliar surroundings for the nationally 21st-ranked Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys when they take on the Southern Arkansas Muleriders in the first round of the 2012 Great American Conference Tournament on Thursday, March 1.
 
Tip-off at Bruin Fieldhouse in Bartlesville, Okla., is set for 6 p.m. Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will have the broadcast in the Arkansas River Valley.  

Click here to access an Internet stream of the broadcast.

It will be the second meeting in less than a week between the Wonder Boys (21-5) and the Muleriders (13-15). Arkansas Tech defeated SAU 74-66 in the regular season finale at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday.
 
Their rematch will mark the third time this season that the Wonder Boys have faced the same opponent in back-to-back games. Arkansas Tech encountered the same scenario when it played Christian Brothers on Nov. 22 and Nov. 29 and when it took on Central Oklahoma on Dec. 3 and Dec. 10.
 
“It’s mostly about us right now,” said Wonder Boys head coach Doug Karleskint. “It’s about correcting the mistakes that (SAU) forced us into. We’ve had some good practices, and we’ve been able to go back and work on some fundamentals while still keeping the guys’ legs fresh. That is critical in March.”
 
Arkansas Tech’s NCAA Division II conference tournament history in men’s basketball can be divided into two segments — everything before 2008, and everything from 2008 forward.
 
From the first year they were eligible for NCAA postseason play (1998) through 2007, the Wonder Boys only qualified for the Gulf South Conference Tournament one time, and that resulted in a 70-57 loss to West Florida in the first round of the 2000 GSC Tournament.
 
It would be eight years until Arkansas Tech returned to the men’s basketball postseason, but once it made it back, Tech was ready for prime time.
 
The Wonder Boys were 9-2 in the GSC Tournament from 2008-2011, and they claimed the tournament championship in both 2009 and 2010.
 
As a new era begins in the Great American Conference and a new venue is visited for the first time, Arkansas Tech hopes it can shift that success from Southaven, Miss., to Bartlesville, Okla. 
 
“I’ve heard great reviews of Bartlesville and what they do in terms of putting on a tournament,” said Karleskint. “The people of the community really get behind it and support it. Hopefully we can have the same success there that we had in Southaven.”
 
The Wonder Boys are led in scoring by senior guard Johnie Davis, who is the top scorer in the GAC this season at 20.6 points per game.
 
Junior guard Jared Williamson (12.0 points per game), senior guard Matt Haney (10.4 points per game) and junior center Will Paul (10.0 points per game) also average double figures in scoring for Arkansas Tech.
 
Southern Arkansas, which lost six of its last seven regular season games, features the talents of junior point guard Rodney Hill. He leads the Muleriders in scoring (12.7 points per game) and ranks first in the GAC in assists (4.7 per game).
 
The winner of the Arkansas Tech-SAU game will advance to the GAC Tournament semifinal round at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 3. The men’s title game is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 4.
 
All games at the GAC Tournament will be played at Bruin Fieldhouse in Bartlesville.

Click here to learn more about Arkansas Tech men’s basketball.

SSS to Present Major Workshop

All Arkansas Tech students are invited to attend the “Choosing a Major” workshop tomorrow.

The workshop will be presented by Jeff Hudnall of Norman Career Services on Thursday from 2:30-3:15 p.m. in Rothwell 307.

Hudnall will discuss the process of and factors to consider when selecting a major, why having a major is important, and how selecting a major impacts career decisions.

Additionally, Hudnall will present the Focus 2 Assessment tool on the Norman Career Services website and demonstrate how the tool can be utilized for students needing to define career interests and select a major.

Student Support Services is hosting the workshop. For more information call 479.880.4121.

McMillian to Lead Office of Public Safety

For Josh McMillian, the path to become the new director of public safety at Arkansas Tech University started with a simple premise.

“For me, police work is an outlet to serve my community,” said McMillian. “Being active in my community is important to me, and I am excited about the privilege to serve at Arkansas Tech because of the opportunities we have to help others. We will protect the safety of our student body, but we will also serve in an educational capacity to inform our students.”

McMillian brings 10 years of law enforcement experience to his new role, which he will assume on March 15. He previously served as public information officer for the Russellville Police Department.

“We are proud to welcome Josh to the Tech family,” said Susie Nicholson, vice president for student services and university relations. “He will bring a wealth of knowledge to our Office of Public Safety. Ensuring the safety of our campus community is our No. 1 priority, and I believe that Josh will be a valuable resource as we work to enhance our reputation as a safe place to study and work.”

Steve Lawrence, who has previously served the university as director of public safety, will continue to work in the Arkansas Tech Office of Student Services as an associate dean of students.

The Arkansas Tech Office of Public Safety office is located on the Tech campus at 1508 North Boulder Avenue in Russellville. The office can be reached by phone at (479) 968-0222.

Radio Theatre Open Auditions Next Week

The Arkansas Radio Theatre will hold open auditions next week for upcoming productions.

Auditions will be on Monday, March 5 at 8 p.m. in the Energy Center lobby. They will consist of cold readings from actual scripts of the upcoming shows. No prior experience is required to audition.

The newest radio theatre productions created by Arkansas Tech writers are “Trees Hate Us” and “Elbow Grease.” “Trees Hate Us” is the story of an old oak’s plot for revenge against the human race. “Elbow Grease” follows a young couple’s struggles to save their marriage.

For both plays, the rehearsal and recording schedule consists of approximately four meetings during the Spring 2012 semester.

Those auditioning may also try out for a principal role in “The Fall of Saul,” a three-episode biblical extravaganza. This recording will begin during summer and culminate in the Fall 2012 semester.

Founded in 2007, the Arkansas Radio Theatre, operating under the auspices of the Arkansas Tech Department of Speech, Theatre & Journalism, is dedicated to audio performances of new plays and adaptations from classic literature. Performances are broadcasted on KXRJ 91.9.

For more information, contact Interim Director of Theatre Dr. David Eshelman at deshelman@atu.edu.