Arkansas Tech made the big plays at the big moments and came up with a big prize on Thursday night --- a share of the inaugural Great American Conference women's basketball championship.
The nationally 13th-ranked Golden Suns outscored Ouachita Baptist 17-6 over the final 3:53 to claim an 80-70 win over the Lady Tigers at Vining Arena in Arkadelphia.
With the victory, Arkansas Tech (21-3 overall, 12-3 GAC) assured itself of no worse than a share of the GAC regular season title. The Golden Suns can clinch the title outright with a home win over Southern Arkansas (2-23, 2-13) on Saturday.
"I am really proud of our basketball team," said Arkansas Tech head coach Dave Wilbers. "Late in the game, it's all about who is going to make plays. Every one of the six girls we were rotating in during that stretch made plays. They stepped up. Our team made all the plays those last four minutes."
The Golden Suns' run started with 3:53 left when Jessica Weatherford stepped through a double team and made a layup to give Tech a 65-64 lead.
Lily Abreu followed with a layup, and Rosie Silva made a 3-pointer from the left wing to put the Suns in front 70-64 at the 2:48 mark.
Two Weatherford free throws made it an eight-point lead. Domino Miller kept the Lady Tigers alive with a 3-pointer at the 2:01 mark, but Natalia Santos made an 8-foot jumper in the lane and Silva hit four straight free throws to give Arkansas Tech an insurmountable 78-67 edge with 52 seconds to go.
Silva scored a career-high 27 points. She was 10-of-17 from the field and 5-of-5 at the free throw line.
Santos added 18 points, while Abreu notched 13 points and seven rebounds. Weatherford had 11 points and 11 rebounds for her 23rd career double-double.
Tech shot 28-of-56 (50 percent) from the field while holding OBU to 25-of-74 (34 percent) field goal shooting.
Domino Miller scored a team-high 15 points for Ouachita Baptist (16-9, 9-6), which saw its five-game winning streak come to an end.
Arkansas Tech won its 10th consecutive women's basketball game.
The Golden Suns will conclude their regular season by hosting Southern Arkansas for a 4 p.m. GAC contest at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Tickets will be available at promotional prices of $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. Those with a valid Arkansas Tech identification card will be admitted free of charge.
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