Arkansas Tech head coach Dave Wilbers said before his team's showdown with Delta State on Saturday that the stars would have to make big plays for the Golden Suns to win. Laura Beth Anderson must have been listening.
Anderson hit back-to-back off balance shots in the final two minutes to help nationally fifth-ranked Arkansas Tech topple nationally third-ranked Delta State 72-62 at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.
The win gives the Golden Suns (22-2 overall, 11-1 GSC) sole possession of first place in the GSC West Division with two regular season games remaining. It also evens the season series with Delta State (22-2, 10-2), which defeated Tech 68-58 in Cleveland, Miss., on Jan. 22.
After 80 minutes of basketball this season, the Suns and the Lady Statesmen are tied 130-130.
Tech led 36-32 at halftime and by as many as 14 points early in the second half, but Delta State whittled that lead down. Shameka Russell's bucket with 2:26 left cut the Golden Suns' edge to 61-58.
What happened next were 47 seconds that Anderson will likely remember until her final day.
First she hit a leaning 10-foot jumper in the lane, was fouled and made the free throw with 2:03 to play. The play doubled Arkansas Tech's lead and made it 64-58.
After a Jenny Vining defensive rebound, Anderson did it again. She hit a 7-foot, falling down bank shot from right of the lane (photographed) to give the Suns 66-58 lead with 1:16 to go.
Tech put it away down the stretch by making 6-of-6 at the free throw line.
Anderson matched her career high with 19 points. Natalia Santos notched her 19th career double-double for the Golden Suns with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Vining, who made 6-of-6 free throws over the final 4:04, had nine points. Jessica Weatherford added eight points and six rebounds.
Veronica Walker led Delta State with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Bug Cooper added 11 points and seven assists for the Lady Statesmen.
The Golden Suns will visit Harding University on Thursday, Feb. 24. Tip-off at Rhodes Field House in Searcy is set for 5:30 p.m.
Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will have the broadcast in the Arkansas River Valley. The broadcast will be streamed over the Internet at www.athletics.atu.edu.
Visit www.athletics.atu.edu to read more about Tech Athletics.]]>