Golden Suns vs. Lady Statesmen: Round Four

It is the greatest rivalry in NCAA Division II women’s basketball. It is a rematch of last year’s NCAA Division II Tournament South Regional championship game. It will be one of the most significant sporting events ever staged in Russellville, Ark.

Arkansas Tech (29-2) and Delta State (28-3) will play under the dome of Tucker Coliseum at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 14, in the 2011 NCAA South Region title game with a berth in the NCAA Elite Eight on the line.

Monday will mark the fourth meeting between the two teams this season and the eighth meeting over the past two seasons.

The winner will move within three victories of a national championship. The loser will pack its gear away for the summer.

Tickets go on sale at 5 p.m. Monday at the Tucker Coliseum ticket office. Gates will open at 6 p.m.

Current Arkansas Tech students with a valid Tech identification card who are wearing green and gold and are present at the Tucker Coliseum ticket office at 5 p.m. Monday will receive a free ticket to the game courtesy of the Arkansas Tech President’s Office.

The nationally top-ranked Golden Suns reached the regional championship game with an 83-74 win over Florida Tech on Saturday. Arkansas Tech trailed by nine points at halftime, but the Golden Suns got their transition offense moving in the second half as they earned their 35th consecutive home win.

The nationally fourth-ranked Lady Statesmen also had to come from behind in the regional semifinals. Delta State trailed Florida Tech 65-58 with four minutes left on Saturday, but the Lady Statesmen closed the game on a 14-2 run to win 72-67 and earn their sixth straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.

Delta State has the highest winning percentage in NCAA Division II women’s basketball history. Arkansas Tech ranks No. 2 on that list. They have earned a combined eight national championships.

The Golden Suns have won five of the last seven meetings in their series with the Lady Statesmen. Arkansas Tech defeated Delta State 73-62 in the 2010 NCAA Division II South Region championship game and 73-62 in the 2011 Gulf South Conference Tournament championship game.

The winner of Monday’s game between the Golden Suns and the Lady Statesmen will advance to the national quarterfinals in St. Joseph, Mo., on Tuesday, March 22.

The national semifinals (Wednesday, March 23) and national championship game (Friday, March 25) will also be played in St. Joseph.

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