Nationally 21st-ranked Arkansas Tech University celebrated the return of two key players from injury by defeating Southern Arkansas University 83-40 in Great American Conference women's basketball at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Thursday night.
The Golden Suns (17-3 overall, 13-3 GAC) scored the first five points and never looked back. Tech led 26-13 at the end of one quarter. Eight straight points to begin the second period pushed the margin beyond 20 points.
By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, the Golden Suns had made 57 percent of their field goal attempts and built a 46-20 lead.
"I thought our passing was at a high level," said ATU head coach Dave Wilbers. "Our players were looking for each other and playing unselfish basketball. They were passing up good shots for a better shot, and when you do that, you're going to shoot a high percentage."
Tech's advantage never dipped below 24 points in the second half. The Golden Suns, who held SAU without a made field goal for the final 9:02 of the fourth quarter, improved to 11-1 at home this season, 34-3 all-time in home games against SAU and 66-9 overall in their series against the Lady Muleriders.
Cheyenne North and Brianna Williams returned to Tech's active roster on Thursday night after missing three and two games, respectively, due to injury.
"I thought they did really well," said Wilbers when asked about North and Williams. "It's the time of the season where we aren't scrimmaging as much in practice, so they didn't get much of that to get ready. They both showed signs of what they can do, and they'll only get better from here."
Anissa Pounds scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Suns. Calli White added 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Williams had 12 points, Danielle Frachiseur poured in 11 points and Kylie Ladd notched 10 points.
Makaila Jordan scored 11 points for Southern Arkansas (5-15, 3-13).
The Golden Suns will travel to Arkadelphia for a 1 p.m. GAC contest against Ouachita Baptist University on Saturday, Feb. 11. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will have live play-by-play coverage.