Blossoms Rally Late to Top Suns 74-65

The University of Arkansas-Monticello earned its first women’s basketball victory over Arkansas Tech University in almost a decade by defeating the Golden Suns 74-65 at Steelman Fieldhouse in Monticello on Saturday.

The Golden Suns (3-4 overall, 1-2 Great American Conference) committed 33 fouls and four of their players fouled out of the game. UA-Monticello (2-5, 1-2) took advantage, connecting on 30-of-40 free throw attempts while Arkansas Tech was 10-of-20 at the free throw line.

It was UAM’s first win over the Suns since Jan. 29, 2009, snapping Tech’s 21-game unbeaten streak against the Cotton Blossoms.

“The fouls were just way too much to overcome,” said Dave Wilbers, ATU head coach. “They were calling it tight, and we didn’t adjust. We tried man-to-man and zone, and we continued to foul. We have to be more disciplined, keep our composure and make our layups.”

Arkansas Tech missed 11 of its final 12 field goal attempts. As a result, the Cotton Blossoms outscored the Golden Suns 21-7 over the final 6:55 of the game.

ATU led 22-15 after one quarter and 40-31 at halftime. The lead swelled to 53-38 with 2:14 left in the third period before the foul trouble started to rear its head.

UAM reeled off 15 unanswered points to tie the score at 53-53 with 7:49 to go in the fourth quarter.

It appeared the Golden Suns had restored order after a 3-pointer by Ke’Vonshaye Stackhouse and a layup by Jayana Sanders. Tech led 58-53 with 7:19 to go, but those final seven minutes belonged to the Blossoms.

Mackenzie Johnson paced the Blossoms with 24 points.

Jacie Higgins had 13 points for ATU. Stackhouse finished with 12 points and Sanders had 10 points.

The Golden Suns will host Southern Arkansas University for a 5:30 p.m. GAC contest at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Wednesday, Dec. 12. Tickets ($5 adults/$3 students and senior citizens) will be available at the door. Those with a valid ATU identification card will be admitted free of charge.

Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and will provide live coverage.