Nationally fifth-ranked Arkansas Tech shook free from a pesky University of Arkansas-Monticello team and pulled away for an 87-67 Gulf South Conference victory over the Cotton Blossoms at Steelman Field House in Monticello on Saturday.
Arkansas Tech (19-2 overall, 8-1 GSC) led 55-41 with 15:03 to go, but UAM (6-15, 2-7) used a 12-4 spurt to cut the Suns' advantage to 59-53 with 10:51 left.
Tech's Laura Beth Anderson made it 61-53 on a 17-foot jump shot with 8:50 remaining. Jenny Vining followed that with five straight points --- first a steal and a layup; then a 3-pointer --- to give the Golden Suns a much more comfortable 66-53 lead at the 7:42 mark.
Arkansas Tech's lead remained 11 points or more the rest of the way as it won a fifth consecutive game and improved to 15-1 in its last 16 games.
Katie Horsman (photographed) scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Golden Suns. Natalia Santos added 16 points and nine rebounds, while Jessica Weatherford had 15 points and six rebounds.
Vining finished with 14 points and six assists. Anderson notched 10 points.
Alex Hart led UA-Monticello with 17 points. Erica Williams had 15 points for UAM.
The Cotton Blossoms took a brief 4-2 lead to start the game, but Arkansas Tech held UAM without a made field goal for a span of 5:57 early in the first half.
That, combined with the fact that the Golden Suns made six of their first eight field goal tries, helped Tech open an 18-5 lead with 13:01 to go before halftime.
The Suns went on to lead by as many as 15 points in the first half, but the Cotton Blossoms went to work on the offensive glass and got themselves back in the game.
UA-Monticello had 12 first-half offensive rebounds, and by halftime, the Arkansas Tech lead was trimmed to 43-34.
The Suns held UAM to just three offensive rebounds in the second half, and Tech out-rebounded the Blossoms 22-10 after halftime. The Suns finished with a 37-28 rebounding edge.
The Golden Suns will host Christian Brothers at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 14.
It will be "Project: Feed Arkansas Night" at Tucker Coliseum. Fans who donate one or more non-perishable food items to the Arkansas Rice Depot at the door will gain discounted admission ($5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens).
Those with a valid Tech identification card will be admitted free.
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