A slow start and the absence of its top player was too much for nationally 17th-ranked Arkansas Tech University to overcome on Saturday afternoon in Weatherford, Okla.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University completed a regular season sweep of the Golden Suns with a 90-79 victory in Great American Conference women’s basketball at the Pioneer Cellular Event Center.
Arkansas Tech (14-3 overall, 10-3 GAC) missed 20 of its first 24 field goal attempts and fell behind 28-9 at the 7:02 mark of the second quarter.
“We got off to a bad start, and we can only blame ourselves,” said Golden Suns head coach Dave Wilbers. “We got out of our offense and started rushing shots. We have to be tougher. The deficit was just too much to overcome.”
An 8-0 run later in the period briefly allowed the Suns to pull within 11 points of the lead, but SWOSU (12-6, 8-4) outscored Tech 12-4 over the final 3:03 of the half to take a 43-24 edge at the intermission.
The Golden Suns rallied again in the third quarter and pulled within 60-54 with 27 seconds left in the period.
That was when Hailey Tucker, the leading scorer and rebounder in the GAC, asserted herself for the Lady Bulldogs. She scored six points during a 10-2 SWOSU run that made it 70-56 with 7:28 left in the fourth quarter. The margin never slipped into single digits again.
The Golden Suns played without leading scorer and rebounder Cheyenne North, who injured her ankle during Tech’s 77-57 win at Northwestern Oklahoma State University on Thursday.
“(North) is one of the best post players in the nation,” said Wilbers. “She’s also a leader on the floor for us. Not having her today hurt us, but we have other players and we just have to play better.”
Hayden Priddy had a career-high 29 points for SWOSU. She was 12-of-12 at the free throw line. The Lady Bulldogs made 30-of-33 free throws, while the Golden Suns made 9-of-11 free tosses.
Tucker finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, her sixth double-double of the season for the Lady Bulldogs.
Danielle Frachiseur paced Tech by matching her career high with 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of 2016-17. Anissa Pounds added 17 points and Kelsey McClure notched 14 points. Arkansas Tech shot 22-of-39 (56 percent) from the field in the second half.
The Golden Suns will return home to Tucker Coliseum in Russellville to host Southern Nazarene University for a 5:30 p.m. GAC contest on Thursday, Feb. 2.