Jones’ Late Heroics Push HSU Past Suns

Henderson State University held off a furious comeback bid by Arkansas Tech University to defeat the Golden Suns 70-62 in Great American Conference basketball at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday afternoon.

The Reddies (5-1 overall, 2-0 GAC) led by as many as 18 points in the first half and still maintained a 57-42 lead late in the third quarter.

The Golden Suns (3-3, 1-1) rallied and pulled within 62-60 with 3:29 left in the fourth quarter following back-to-back 3-pointers by Ke’Vonshaye Stackhouse.

Pink Jones took over down the stretch for the Reddies. Her running, 12-foot jumper from the right side of the lane with 36 seconds remaining gave Henderson State a 66-62 lead, and she made 4-of-4 free throws over the final 20.7 seconds to seal the Reddies’ first road win over ATU in women’s basketball since Feb. 2, 2007.

“It’s tough when you get behind against a team like (Henderson State) with veteran players,” said Dave Wilbers, Tech head coach. “I appreciate the fight of our team. We just had too many costly turnovers. There are a lot of little details we need to work on. We need to do a better job of knowing where our teammates are and making the right pass. There were several times today we just threw it out of bounds.”

The Golden Suns committed 23 turnovers and the Reddies finished with a 25-5 edge in points off turnovers.

Early shooting struggles by Arkansas Tech allowed Henderson State to build a 30-12 lead by the 6:35 mark of the second quarter. The Golden Suns missed 20 of their first 23 field goal attempts before Hannah Villines made a layup with 6:15 left until halftime.

It was the beginning of a 7-0 run that got Arkansas Tech back in the game, but Henderson State maintained a double-digit advantage for the balance of the half. HSU held a 12-0 edge in points off turnovers during the opening 20 minutes and a 41-29 lead at the intermission.

Stackhouse finished with 18 points, Villines netted 13 points and Jacie Higgins contributed 11 points for the Golden Suns. Tech out-rebounded the Reddies 53-38, including 13 rebounds by Lyrik Williams and eight by Ryann Goodsell.

Jones had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Henderson State. Hailey Estes notched 14 points. All of Maci Mains’ career-high 13 points for the Reddies came in the first half.

The Golden Suns will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 8, with a 2 p.m. GAC contest against the University of Arkansas-Monticello at Steelman Fieldhouse in Monticello. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and will provide live coverage.

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