Late Defense Pushes Golden Suns to Win

Nationally fourth-ranked Arkansas Tech held the Benedict College Lady Tigers without a point for more than eight minutes late in the second half on Friday night to key a 65-48 Golden Suns’ victory in the first round of the NCAA Division II Tournament South Regional at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

Bridget Williams made a 3-pointer for Benedict (22-9) with 9:31 remaining to cut top-seeded Arkansas Tech’s lead to 48-43.

Tech’s Katie Horsman answered with a 3-pointer of her own with nine minutes to go. It was a turning point, as the Golden Suns reeled off the next 17 points unanswered to pull away for a 65-43 lead with 1:37 left.

Benedict ended its scoreless drought at eight minutes and 15 seconds on a Tascha Gibson basket with 1:16 remaining, but by then the Lady Tigers’ fate was sealed.

Natalia Santos led the Golden Suns (29-2) with 15 points. Laura Beth Anderson and Jessica Weatherford added 11 points apiece. Horsman finished with eight points, and Shaquilah Davis contributed three points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Williams paced Benedict with 12 points.

The Suns overcame their worst shooting night of the season (30 percent) thanks in large part to turnover margin. Tech committed 19 turnovers, compared to 32 for the Lady Tigers. The Suns outscored Benedict 26-11 in points off turnovers.

Arkansas Tech advances to face Tampa at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the regional semifinals.