Clutch Play Late Gives Suns 68-61 Win

Sometimes it isn’t how many points you score; it’s when you score them.

Arkansas Tech’s Casse Vaughn proved that to be true on Friday night, scoring her only four points on a pair of second-chance baskets in the final six minutes to help the nationally fifth-ranked Golden Suns defeat North Alabama 68-61 at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

Arkansas Tech (9-1) led by as many as 14 points late in the first half, but by the 6:50 mark of the second half that advantage was down to 55-52.

Vaughn, who played just four minutes in the game, was inserted into the line-up at that point because fellow forward Natalia Santos was on the bench with four fouls.

The freshman from North Little Rock responded, scoring putback buckets with 5:52 and 4:45 remaining to give the Golden Suns a 59-54 edge.

Tech’s Jenny Vining followed with a 3-pointer from the left wing and Tech led 62-54 with 4:13 to go.

Back-to-back baskets from North Alabama’s Niala Harris and Sequoyah Cliff made it 62-58 with 3:06 remaining. Then it was Shaquilah Davis’ turn to play the unlikely hero for the Golden Suns.

She made a layup with 2:43 to go to rebuild Tech’s lead to 64-58. Sanqueeta Meardith answered with a 3-pointer for UNA and the Lions called timeout with 1:35 left.

North Alabama fouled Davis on the inbounds play following the timeout. Davis, 0-for-2 from the line for the game and 7-for-17 at the line for the season, nailed both ends of a 1-and-1 opportunity to give Arkansas Tech a 66-61 advantage with 1:34 to play.

The Suns sealed it from there with their defense, most notably a Laura Beth Anderson steal with 1:10 remaining. Katie Horsman scored a putback for the Suns off a missed free throw with 22 seconds left to set the final score.

Horsman and Jessica Weatherford led Tech with 15 points apiece. Santos notched 12 points and six rebounds.

Vining added six points, five rebounds and five assists. Anderson had six points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Dana Jackson paced North Alabama (5-4) with 13 points and nine rebounds.

The Golden Suns will be idle until Dec. 29, when they will host nationally-ranked West Texas A&M for a 5:30 p.m. game at Tucker Coliseum.