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Golden Suns Open Title Defense Friday Night

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www.arkansastechsports.com will have the play-by-play description. The champion of the event will receive an automatic bid into the 2014 NCAA Division II Tournament, an event the Golden Suns have qualified for 11 times since 1998. "If you get hot in the conference tournament, you can still go to the NCAA Tournament," said Arkansas Tech head coach Dave Wilbers. "We're the No. 4 seed, and that's okay. Everybody starts 0-0 and has a chance. I reflect back to what Ouachita Baptist's men did last season. They were the No. 5 seed, and they won the whole thing. They got hot at the right time, and that's all that it takes." Junior forward Jae Tucker and sophomore forward Caroline Eubanks are the only two active Golden Suns who were part of Tech's championship run in Bartlesville last March. Eubanks tied the Arkansas Tech women's basketball single-game school record with 22 rebounds in the title game win over Southwestern Oklahoma State on March 10, 2013. The Golden Suns only returned 19 percent of their scoring from a year ago when the 2013-14 season began, and that figure dropped again when sophomore guard Cara Neighbors was lost to a season-ending injury in January. After a 67-63 loss at Southeastern Oklahoma State on Jan. 26, the Suns were 8-8 overall and 4-6 in the GAC. With no seniors and only two upperclassmen on its roster, Arkansas Tech put together a February rally. The Golden Suns went on an eight-game winning streak that did not end until nationally third-ranked Harding University posted a 61-54 win over Arkansas Tech on Feb. 27. Two days later, playing their fifth game in 10 days, the Suns ended the regular season with a 70-42 loss at East Central University. Included in Arkansas Tech's February winning streak was a 79-76 victory over Southeastern Oklahoma State on Feb. 24 that evened the season series between the two teams. The Savage Storm ended the regular season on a five-game losing streak. The winner of the third Tech-SOSU meeting of the season on Friday will advance to the GAC Tournament semifinals on Saturday, March 8. The championship game is scheduled for Sunday, March 9. All games will be played at Bruin Fieldhouse in Bartlesville, Okla. Access the 2014 GAC Tournament bracket.]]>