Golden Suns Open GAC Play With Win

Arkansas Tech University held Ouachita Baptist University to one made field goal over the final 3:48 to emerge with a 71-61 Great American Conference win at Vining Arena in Arkadelphia on Thursday night.

The Golden Suns (3-2 overall, 1-0 GAC) earned their 11th consecutive victory over the Lady Tigers (2-4, 0-1).

“I thought our defense was, for the most part, really, really good,” said Dave Wilbers, ATU head coach. “Ouachita is a fast team. They can really get up and down the floor, and they got us a couple of times in transition. We were battling for rebounds. I’m proud of the team. It took all nine players.”

There were seven lead changes during the first half, the last of which occurred when the Golden Suns scored the final four points of the second quarter to claim a 37-34 edge at the intermission.

Arkansas Tech used a 12-2 run over a span of 3:17 to open a 52-41 lead midway through the third period. Ouachita Baptist bounced back to pull within 54-48 at the end of the quarter, but six points was as close as the Lady Tigers could get the rest of the way.

Tech’s Jacie Higgins delivered a dagger on a 3-pointer at the 3:31 of the fourth quarter. That pushed the Golden Suns’ lead to 67-58 and they turned it over to their defense from there.

“Jacie’s last week of practice has been off the charts,” said Wilbers. “She has been putting a lot into her game and staying after practice to get in extra shots.”

Lyrik Williams scored a season-high 20 points for the Golden Suns. She was 9-of-14 from the field. Five of her seven rebounds were of the offensive variety.

Higgins finished with 13 points. Hannah Villines notched 11 points and eight rebounds for Tech. Eight of Jayana Sanders’ 10 points came in the second half. Ke’Vonshaye Stackhouse contributed nine points and nine rebounds.

Madison Brittain scored a team-high 15 points for Ouachita. Alivia Huell added 13 points and 11 rebounds.

The Golden Suns will host Henderson State University for their GAC home opener on Saturday, Dec. 1. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will provide live coverage.

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