Suns Rally For 42nd Straight Home Win

Tough-nosed man-to-man defense has filled the rafters of Tucker Coliseum with Arkansas Tech Golden Suns basketball championship banners. On Thursday night, tough-nosed man-to-man defense helped the Golden Suns get back in the win column.

The nationally ninth-ranked Golden Suns (10-2 overall, 2-2 Great American Conference) rode a second-half defensive adjustment to a 61-55 victory over the Southeastern Oklahoma State Savage Storm at Tucker Coliseum.

“I thought our defense was outstanding,” said Arkansas Tech head coach Dave Wilbers. “Our zone was good in the first half, but they made an adjustment and we couldn’t get our zone switched. We went man-to-man, and we were solid in it.”

It was Tech’s 42nd consecutive home win — the longest active home winning streak in NCAA Division II women’s basketball and the second-longest home winning streak in Golden Suns’ history.

The victory also snapped Arkansas Tech’s first two-game losing streak in almost three years, but it didn’t come easy.

Southeastern Oklahoma State made four 3-pointers in the first 2:24 of the second half to take a 35-28 lead.

That prompted Wilbers to abandon the zone defense his team had employed up to that point and go man-to-man.

The Savage Storm did not make another 3-pointer, missing their final nine attempts from beyond the arc.

Meanwhile, Arkansas Tech steadily chipped away at its deficit. Josie Bazilio scored a layup with 4:14 left to tie the score at 52-52, and Natalia Santos put the Suns in front for good with a pair of free throws at the 3:30 mark.

Arkansas Tech won it down the stretch with defense and offensive rebounding. The Suns held Southeastern Oklahoma State without a made field goal for the final 4:52 of the game, and Katie Horsman’s put-back basket with 20 seconds left set the final score.

Horsman’s rebound was the 25th offensive rebound of the night for Arkansas Tech. The Suns finished with a 26-13 edge in second-chance points.

Natalia Santos and Jessica Weatherford had 15 points apiece for Tech. Weatherford added a game-high 11 rebounds. Bazilio finished with a career-high 11 points.

“Josie hasn’t played a lot, but she has been practicing well,” said Wilbers. “She has been spending a lot of time in the gym and she’s never given up.”

Ashley Hobbs had 17 points and Whitney Coffey netted 13 points for Southeastern Oklahoma State (7-8, 3-2).

The Golden Suns will visit Henderson State for a 2 p.m. GAC game at the Duke Wells Center in Arkadelphia on Saturday, Jan. 21.

That contest can be heard on KWKK 100.9 FM.

Click here to access an Internet stream of the broadcast.

Click here to learn more about Arkansas Tech women’s basketball.