Lady Bison Top Golden Suns 63-59

Charissa Price scored 18 points to lead Oklahoma Baptist University to a 63-59 victory over Arkansas Tech University at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday afternoon.

Victoria Blankenship added 13 points and Autumn Avina notched 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Lady Bison (7-7 overall, 3-5 Great American Conference), who earned their first women’s basketball road win over the Golden Suns since Nov. 24, 1984.

Oklahoma Baptist made its first five field goal attempts and jumped out to a 15-2 lead at the 5:55 mark of the opening quarter.

Eight straight Arkansas Tech points on a jumper by Ryann Goodsell and back-to-back 3-pointers from Jacie Higgins and Kiara Moses pulled the Golden Suns with 15-10 with 3:51 left in the opening period.

The Lady Bison maintained an advantage of between three and 12 points for the remainder of the half and went to the intermission leading 35-31.

Oklahoma Baptist used a 10-2 run late in the third period to claim a 55-42 lead going to the fourth quarter, but Arkansas Tech responded in kind. Ten consecutive Golden Suns’ points to begin the final period pulled Tech within 55-52, and the Suns tied the score 59-59 on Higgins’ 3-pointer with 2:49 left.

Those proved to be the final points of the day for Arkansas Tech, which missed its final six field goal attempts. Victoria Blankenship made a layup with 1:38 to go to put the Lady Bison in front for good at 61-59.

Mikayla Shulanberger had a key blocked shot for Oklahoma Baptist with 13.6 seconds remaining and Blankenship iced it by making 2-of-2 free throws with 8.4 seconds left.

“The shots just weren’t going in those final three minutes,” said Dave Wilbers, ATU head coach. “I’m real proud of the way the team battled back. We got off to another terrible start, but we ran some good offense in the fourth quarter and got some good shots. I give our players a lot of credit today.”

Hannah Villines finished with 16 points for Arkansas Tech (5-9, 2-6), which suffered its fifth consecutive loss. Ke’Vonshaye Stackhouse and Higgins added 10 points apiece.

The Golden Suns will visit Harding University for a 5:30 p.m. GAC contest at Rhodes-Reaves Field House in Searcy on Thursday, Jan. 17. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will provide live coverage.

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