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Back in First Place: Suns Beat SOSU 71-52

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The last time the Arkansas Tech Golden Suns visited Oklahoma, it was a very sad bus ride home. This time around was a very different story.

Nationally 14th-ranked Arkansas Tech won its seventh consecutive game and pulled into a tie for first place in the Great American Conference standings on Thursday night with a 71-52 win over Southeastern Oklahoma State at Bloomer Sullivan Arena in Durant, Okla.

The Golden Suns (18-3 overall, 9-3 GAC) are tied with Harding University (16-6, 9-3) for the league lead with four regular season games remaining. The Lady Bisons suffered a 76-60 home loss to Ouachita Baptist on Thursday night.

For Arkansas Tech, the turn of events was sweet redemption for a much less pleasant trip west last month. The Golden Suns suffered early league losses at Southwestern Oklahoma State on Jan. 12 and at East Central University on Jan. 14.

Those setbacks put Arkansas Tech in an early hole in the league race. On Thursday, the Suns completed their surge back to the front of the GAC pack.

"When we crossed that state line, I said a good prayer," said Arkansas Tech head coach Dave Wilbers. "I knew Oklahoma is a good state because I met my wife here. Tonight was our best defensive performance of the year. We were very active in our zone and had our hands up. Our players did a great job of analyzing our scouting report."

The Golden Suns took control of the game with a 15-4 run over the final 4:28 of the first half.

Ashley Hobbs' 3-pointer at the 8:43 mark of the second half pulled Southeastern Oklahoma State within 57-48, but consecutive Arkansas Tech baskets by Shanae Govan and Rosie Silva built the Suns' lead back into double figures for good.

Arkansas Tech put it away by holding Southeastern Oklahoma State without a point for a span of more than six minutes late in the second half.

The Savage Storm was 18-of-58 (31 percent) from the field, including 5-of-25 (20 percent) from 3-point range.

The Golden Suns, who came in leading all divisions of NCAA women's basketball in field goal percentage this season, shot 51 percent (29-of-57) from the field on Thursday.

Katie Horsman and Silva had 14 points apiece for Arkansas Tech. Jessica Weatherford added 13 points and seven rebounds.

Hobbs had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Savage Storm (9-14, 5-8).  

The Golden Suns will host Henderson State for a 4 p.m. GAC game at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Tickets, which will be $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens, will be available at the door. Those with a valid Arkansas Tech identification card will be admitted free.

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