A defensive switch midway through the second half sparked the nationally 13th-ranked Arkansas Tech Golden Suns to an 86-68 win over the East Central University Lady Tigers in Great American Conference action at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday afternoon.
Arkansas Tech (17-3 overall, 8-3 GAC) played man-to-man defense for the first 27 minutes of the game. After ECU's Lindsay McCown made a 3-pointer to tie the score at 58-58 with 12:56 left, Tech head coach Dave Wilbers decided it was time for a change.
He went to a 2-3 zone defense, and over the next nine minutes the Golden Suns went on a 24-4 run to open an 82-62 lead with 3:19 to go. That spurt allowed Arkansas Tech to cruise to its sixth consecutive win.
"We run the floor better out of our zone defense," said Wilbers. "We are already in our lanes, and it's easier for us to get into our transition offense. As a coach, I'm thinking now I wish I'd gone to that zone defense a little earlier. ECU is a tough match-up for us. We were a little careless with the basketball and it was a sluggish game at times, but I think part of that is playing for the third time in less than a week."
Rosie Silva had 11 points during the Golden Suns' decisive 24-4 run. She finished with 18 points, a career-high 14 assists, seven rebounds and seven steals.
Her third steal of the day --- which came with 1:28 left in the first half --- gave her 94 for the season and broke a 15-year old school record for steals in a season. All-American Jennifer Richardson previously held the Arkansas Tech women's basketball school record with 93 steals in 1996-97.
Katie Horsman led the Golden Suns in scoring on Saturday with 21 points. She was 5-of-9 from 3-point range.
Samanta Ludwig added 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Jessica Weatherford had 12 points for Arkansas Tech.
Ashley Robison had 17 points and six rebounds for East Central (6-16, 4-8).
With the win, the Golden Suns assumed sole possession of second place in the GAC standings. First-place Harding University (16-5, 9-2) is one game in front of Arkansas Tech after its 73-54 win over Southwestern Oklahoma State (13-9, 8-4) on Saturday.
The Golden Suns will be in Durant, Okla., on Thursday, Feb. 16, for a 5:30 p.m. GAC game against Southeastern Oklahoma State. Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will have the broadcast, which will also be available on the Internet at www.athletics.atu.edu.
Click here to learn more about Arkansas Tech women's basketball.]]>