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Harding Clamps Down, Tops Suns 72-48

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Harding University's Great American Conference-leading defense made the difference in a 72-48 Lady Bisons' victory over Arkansas Tech University at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Thursday night.

The Lady Bisons (17-6 overall, 12-5 GAC) took control by holding the Golden Suns to 3-of-22 (14 percent) shooting from the floor during the second quarter.

As a result, Harding built a 35-19 halftime margin. The Lady Bisons scored the first six points of the third quarter and maintained at least a 19-point advantage the rest of the evening.

Harding entered the game No. 1 in the GAC in scoring defense (60.5 points allowed per game) and field goal percentage defense (.353). ATU shot a season-low 25 percent (18-of-72) from the field on Thursday.

The Lady Bisons avenged a 68-67 overtime loss to Arkansas Tech (10-13, 7-10) on Jan. 17 and ended the Golden Suns' four-game winning streak in the series.

Despite the loss, Arkansas Tech maintained sole possession of seventh place in the GAC standings thanks to losses by Oklahoma Baptist University and Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

The Golden Suns remain inside the cut line to earn one of eight berths in the GAC Tournament with five games remaining in the regular season.

"We missed so many shots tonight," said Dave Wilbers, ATU head coach. "We had a season high in shots during the first half. We've never had 40 shots in a half this year. Sometimes you have a night when you just can't shoot. This was one of those nights. It's a three-team race for two spots (in the GAC Tournament). We just have to take it day-by-day and continue to get better. I think this team will bounce back."

Kellie Lampo had 24 points for the Lady Bisons. It was her eighth game this season with 20 or more points.

Cheyenne Brown added 16 points and Carissa Caples netted 15 points for Harding, which won its fifth consecutive game and improved to 7-1 since that Jan. 17 loss to the Golden Suns.

Hannah Villines paced Arkansas Tech with 11 points.

The Golden Suns will entertain the University of Arkansas-Monticello for a 1 p.m. GAC contest at Tucker Coliseum on Saturday, Feb. 16.

Tickets ($5 adults/$3 students and senior citizens) will be available at the door. Free admission will be granted to those with a valid ATU identification card.

Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will provide live coverage.